London based practice Henley Halebrown Rorrison’s (HHbR) have unveiled a scheme for affordable housing based on a model inspired by Andrea Palladio's Villa Capra (1566-1571) near Vicenza. The Pocket Rotunda model hinges around their developer’s ambition to offer new two-bedroom accommodation that will help open up home ownership to couples with young children, joint buyers, and single parent families who earn too much to qualify for social housing but are, nevertheless, priced out of the UK market.
Their simple ambition is to create housing that is "light, spacious and comprised of well-sized, distinct rooms." This is underpinned by "a desire to support an architecture that recognises the importance of community and has within it some shared space for residents to enjoy."
According to the architects, "the Pocket Rotunda plan shares the biaxial symmetry of Palladio’s celebrated villa. It plays down the more functional aspects of domestic space – the kitchen, bathroom and storage – to create an enfilade of spaces, the intention being that residents enjoy the simple generosity and flexibility of this apartment. The kitchen, like the bathroom and storage, is withdrawn to be a ‘servant’ space, minimising awkward ergonomic and servicing requirements in these carefully proportioned spaces."
"Efficient planning reduces the cost of the apartment but may also, on larger schemes, be used to cross-subsidise shared facilities for the residents. Due to the cap on values, there is no incentive to build a penthouse. The facilities are thus divided between a rooftop clubhouse (and garden) and first floor common workspace and spare bedrooms, making both home ownership more affordable and supporting an “intentional” community. The resulting “Co-Tower” is integrated into the city by a commercial activity, such as a bakery, which serves the wider community but also creates common ground with residents."