Tuesday 19 July: Peg Rawes, Adam Low and Martin Rosenbaum attended an in-house screening at Shelter (UK), and hosted by Deborah Garvie, for staff from London and Shelter Scotland. The discussion took in the current political context, the need to bring out positive approaches to tackling the issues (e.g. Land Trusts or examples of good practice from the EU/International housing contexts), and the value of ‘reason’ for engendering better notions of wellbeing and self-determination across society.
Last night saw the first of our London screenings of project film Equal by Design. Held in the atmospheric Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre at University College London, and organized by UrbanLab, the event featured lively discussion between our panel of speakers (Film contributors Deborah Garvie, Peter Barber, and Sarah Wigglesworth; Clare Melhuish from UrbanLab and Michael Edwards from UCL, alongside Peg Rawes and Beth Lord) and an audience of 150. The event had a long waiting list of over 180 people keen to join the discussion!
By popular demand, we are pleased to announce a second London screening of the film on 28 June at 7:00 at University College London, organized once again by our friends at UrbanLab. Free tickets are likely to go fast. Book your ticket here.
On Saturday 28 May, “Equal by Design” had its Scottish premiere at the University of Aberdeen May Festival.
After the screening, Rosemary Brotchie of Shelter Scotland gave a short response, explaining some of the developments and challenges in the housing crisis specific to Scotland. This was followed by an audience Q&A with her, the project team, and the film team.
On Saturday 21 May, ‘Equal by Design’ had its premiere screening at Bertha DocHouse in the Curzon Bloomsbury Cinema, London.
Based on Peg Rawes’ and Beth Lord’s research from the Equalities of Wellbeing project, the film is a 25-minute documentary about how the philosophy of Spinoza helps us to think about inequality, housing design, and the UK housing crisis.
Joining the project team at the premiere were the film’s director Adam Low, producer Martin Rosenbaum (Lone Star Productions), editor Joanna Crickmay, and sound designer George Taylor. The screening was followed by a panel discussion chaired by Peg Rawes with film contributors Deborah Garvie, Duncan Exley, Peter Barber, Sarah Wigglesworth, Olly Wainwright, and Alex Ely.
Audience members, who joined the discussion and subsequent launch party, included architects, academics, and third sector professionals. Thank you to everyone who participated!
Please join us for a screening of Equal by Design, the project film of the Equalities of Wellbeing project, followed by a Q&A and reception.
Wednesday, 15 June 2016, 7:00-9:00 PM
UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre – Wilkins Building UCL Main Campus, Gower Street, London
This event is open to all. Tickets are free but must be booked in advance via Eventbrite
Equal By Design is a 25-minute documentary film about equality, wellbeing and the UK housing crisis. Made with Lone Star Productions, it examines economic and housing inequality in the UK housing crisis, with contributors from the architectural profession, national charities, journalism and academia.
The film shows how Spinoza’s theory of wellbeing and equality can be used to analyse housing and income inequalities, and how his ideas relate to post-war and current-day social housing design.
Screening supported by Urban Lab Films.
Authors: Peg Rawes and Beth Lord
– architects: Pete Barber, Alex Ely and Sarah Wigglesworth
– charities: Shelter and The Equality Trust
– journalist: Oliver Wainwright, The Guardian
– geographer: Danny Dorling
Director: Adam Low
Producer: Martin Rosenbaum
Editor: Joanna Crickmay
Music: George Taylor
Running time: c. 25mins
Martin Rosenbaum and Lone Star Productions have a distinguished record producing feature documentaries including Sophie Fiennes’s The Pervert’s Guide to Cinema and The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology with Slavoj Zizek, and Jarvis Cocker’s The Big Melt. Films for television, in collaboration with BAFTA and Emmy Award winning director Adam Low, include: Arena: T.S. Eliot (winner of 2010 Grierson Award for Arts); Alan Bennett and the Habit of Art (winner of 2011 Royal Television Society Award for Arts); Frankenstein: A Modern Myth (Silver at 2012 Chicago Film Festival); and BBC Imagine documentary The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (2015). Martin Rosenbaum and Adam Low are currently working a major documentary about Alan Bennett and a film for BBC Imagine about the South African artist William Kentridge.
Book your ticket now at our Eventbrite page.
Equal by Design, project film of the Equalities of Wellbeing project, will have its Scottish premiere at the University of Aberdeen May Festival on Saturday 28 May at 4:00 PM.
Equal by Design, by Peg Rawes and Beth Lord, directed by Adam Low and produced by Lone Star Productions, is a 25-minute documentary exploring how Spinoza’s philosophy connects to housing design for wellbeing and the current crisis in affordable housing.
Following the film screening there will be a discussion and Q&A with the project team, the filmmakers, and Rosemary Brotchie of Shelter Scotland.
Tickets are free but must be booked in advance. Book your tickets online here.
We are excited to announce that Equal by Design, a documentary film by Peg Rawes and Beth Lord, directed by Adam Low and produced by Lone Star Productions, will be released soon.
The 25-minute documentary explores how Spinoza’s philosophy connects to housing design for greater wellbeing and the current crisis in affordable housing. Watch our website for announcements of screening events over the next few months.
Ten months after the first seminar on housing for the project, at a time when the national crisis in inequality and housing provision has deepened even further, and the day before a march on housing took place in London, this event brought together colleagues from the Bartlett School of Architecture and Faculty of the Built Environment UCL, the University of Liverpool and ETH Zurich, to consider how wellbeing and design interrelate in: contemporary design teaching contexts; architectural and urban histories of post-war housing, and housing commissions undertaken by small practices.
Across the presentations, the design of flexible or adaptable housing was the most recurrent view about the contribution that design can make to improving housing standards, housing stock provision and quality, and in light of the historical contexts that form today’s situation. However, there were different opinions of how current practices, and historical evidence defines these aims, and how they be implemented to improve current and future housing needs in UK society:
Peter Bishop underscored how the (currently absent) political will to improve the quality and provision of housing has been highly successful when it supports high quality housing design guides and standards (e.g. historically, the Parker-Morris space standards and, more recently, the impact of the Design for London Housing Guide for the Government’s housing consultation). Secondly, this political will has resulted in very successful housing when carried by local authority housing, architect, planning and design teams (e.g. the 1960-80s, London council boroughs, the GLA, Camden Council or Greenwich). Current guidance also emphasises high standards in the ‘performance’ of housing as part of a commitment to environmental wellbeing: by linking wellbeing with environmental design defined by carbon-reduction criteria, cities and their housing can be more strongly established and ensured. Simon Pepper’s ‘three ages of post-war housing’ reinforced the historical evidence of previous political commitment to quality in housing design, highlighting how 1950s-60s progressive Conservative and Labour Governments committed to housing as a political priority, which disappeared in the 1980s, and now wholly absent from the global economic asset-driven context of today’s housing market (e.g. where international property investors purchase flats, especially in London, that will remain unoccupied; or the resale of ‘right to buy’ flats which previously housed a family to be occupied by single young professionals). Stephen Gage also highlighted how the mid-Victorian terrace still provides an extremely resilient housing model for affordable adaptive design principles through which mixed social, economic and environmental standards achieved across different client groups and demographic needs.
For Jan Kattein, Patrick Weber and Sabine Storp, the wellbeing of the client/home-owner or tenant can be improved in collaborative and adaptive approaches to the local public space, and design ownership of a ‘home’. For these architects, design which isn’t determined by the larger professional scaled interest of building standards (and which Jan Kattein felt can stymie the capabilities of the smaller architect to work with their clients, or the ability of progressive developers and Housing Associations to best maximise their provision). Their presentations emphasised the importance of responsive and reflexive design approaches in which the architect collaborates with the household/home provider (Kattein) or recognises non-standard (e.g. non-European) models of adaptation (Storp Weber) so that housing design performance extends the importance of wellbeing from internal space/density ratio to enliven/reclaim external spaces of the neighbourhood as parts of the ‘home’. Patrick and Sabine also showed how a principle of low-cost adaptation has now revived the social housing failure of Le Corbusier’s Unite d’Habitation housing project in Le Briey, northern France.
These nuances of scale of design highlighted how, whilst there may well be a tendency to identify two opposing approaches – that is, the ‘generic’ regulatory approach versus the ‘specific’ singular design approach – also visible are flexible/open-ended design approaches by architects and their respective professional and client communities which do not solely promote one approach at the exclusion of the other. Nici Zimmerman’s graphic modelling of the social, economic, political, environmental and cultural forces that drive the contemporary housing and wellbeing landscape, provided an interesting analytical assessment of how these relations are multi-faceted and complex both on the micro and macro scales. Her ‘long-view’ approach to ‘integrated decision-making’ for improving effective environmental design of housing and the health of UK cities and their inhabitants helped to capture, clarify and visualise the complex formation of wellbeing in built environment discussions.
Finally, in his closing remarks to the day, Adrian Forty observed that the conversations could be defined in three ways: first, that while today’s current political outlook is clearly poor for housing, the presentations show us that architects working with housing are mindful of these situations, but also choose to work beyond them; that is, architects have always, and still do, respond to their political and social contexts by exploring how design can change the built and social realities of their clients and society. Second, there was concern about whether regulated design standards are beneficial, and third, architects are, perhaps one of the few, or only groups able to make sure that wellbeing is an ethical standard in housing
Podcasts of the day to follow.
Housing and Wellbeing Seminar (Part 2)
Friday 30 January 2015
Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL
140 Hampstead Road, London NW1
— fully booked —
Panel 1: Design and Planning (Chair: David Roberts, BSA)
Peter Bishop (BSA and Allies & Morrison): ‘Housing, Planning and Political Agendas’
Jan Kattein (BSA and Jan Kattein Architects): ‘Housing – the People’
Panel 2: Social housing histories and current practices (Chair: Torsten Lange, ETH)
Simon Pepper (University of Liverpool): ‘Three Ages of Post-War Housing’
Sabine Storp and Patrick Weber (BSA and Storp Weber Architecture): ‘The St. Pancras Way (Design) Encyclopaedia’
Panel 3: Environmental health and demographic impacts on housing design (Chair: Peg Rawes)
Nici Zimmerman (Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering, UCL): ‘Integrated decision-making about Housing, Energy and Wellbeing (HEW)
Stephen Gage (BSA): ‘A (largely anecdotal) plea for long-term adaptability in housing to allow for varying household sizes and social expectations’
Closing discussion with speakers, Adrian Forty (BSA) and audience (Chair: Peg Rawes)
This event is part 2 of a seminar on current housing concerns for the AHRC Equalities of Wellbeing research project. For podcasts of the earlier event visit the project website: http://www.equalitiesofwellbeing.co.uk/publications-from-equalities-of-wellbeing-housing-workshop/