Elmer’s Cottage

Location:         London, UK
Programme:   Residential / Light Industrial
Cost:                 £30,000
Client:              Architecture Foundation
Status:             Competition

Project Overview

The project proposes a ‘holiday’ let located within the London Borough of Hackney in which occupants are responsible for the production of ceramic tiles which will eventually clad the building over a two year life cycle. The construction of the kiln and flue will initiate manufacture of the tiles, the timber frame and polycarbonate panels will allow inhabitation of the space.

Central to the factory and home is the kiln, the fire, the traditional heart of a building. It is here the tile production occurs. The colour and patter The colour and the patten of the tiles is determined by a blue print set of plans located on the pottery desk. Each resident signing their name on the tiles they have hung, proudly having helped produced the city and the built environment.

Project Background

The housing crisis and a pro-development National Planning Policy Framework has amounted to a large loss of Industrial land, yet 11% of London’s economy is based within industrial estates, with 18 million sq ft a year required to keep up with supply and growth.

The de-industrialisation of London is being caused by real estate speculation, rather than the GLA’s predictions of a natural decline in industry output. London’s industry performs unseen and vital functions, with the very fabric of the city produced within it. A city’s make up should not be a purely a residential one.

The Deputy Mayor for Business and Enterprise stated:

“The idea of an industrial park is really a modern phenomenon and what we will return to is a 19th century model, where industry is mixed around housing”

How can we propose a new model of living amongst industry?

Located on an industrial site which has serviced the city since the C17th through farming to provision of construction materials, this scheme looks to explore alternatives ways to bring together industry and residential, creating a factory dwelling.

Typically industrial process is hidden; this project looks to bring it to the forefront, celebrating productive space and supporting the rise of craft and ‘cottage industries’, reconnecting the public to the important role industry plays, through education and the shared knowledge of manufacture.