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Architectural Record 2003 11 Dunster

Architectural Record 2003 11 Dunster

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Published by missy_is_disco
Architectural Record 2003 11 Dunster
Architectural Record 2003 11 Dunster

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Categories:Topics, Art & Design
Published by: missy_is_disco on Dec 15, 2012
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12/31/2014

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This scheme should need littleintroduction. But apparently itdoes. While the aspirations ofBedZED (Beddington ZeroEnergy Development) have beenwell documented
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(AR June2001), 18 months after the firstresidents moved in it is time tothink beyond the statistics thatqualify its conception. This is, letus not forget, a piece of radicalarchitectural design, anddeserves to be seen within awider context as a model forfuture volume housing.Beyond reducing energyconsumption to 10 per cent ofsimilar suburban homes built to1995 regulations, it is a model ofplace making, and of high-densitysuburban urbanization. A modelof architectural imagination andmixed-use integration. Andabove all of optimism andprogress. But before this, it isperhaps equally pertinent tostate what BedZED is not. It isnot a high budget, highly refinedshow piece. It is certainly notarchitectural wallpaper. It isinstead an exemplary workingexperiment: the kind of mega-prototype essential to testissues concerning future housinggenerations. So those whocriticize the eccentricity of someof its details clearly miss thepoint. After all, with over tenyears as a key associate ofMichael Hopkins and Partners,Bill Dunster graduated from oneof the best schools ofarchitectural refinement. Sinceleaving MHP however, he nowchooses to prioritize otherbroader facets of architecture,of which there are many.Meeting him on the BedZEDsite recently, where he runs hisown design studio (ZED Factory),Dunster constantly drawsparallels between BedZED andthe adjacent development, thelikes of which he sees asobsolete. Here he playsdevelopers at their own game,adopting their language and theircurrency – that of economy.Through an integrated approach,BedZED provides the samedwelling density as the adjacentspeculative development, butwith a 35 per cent increase inspace allowance. This in turnprovides valuable revenueearning benefits in the form ofadditional live-work units, andcommunity facilities such assurgery, a community hall and abar. It also results in a vastlyimproved public realm, with areduction in naked tarmac andvirtually no unused (andtherefore unloved) residualspace. This is a principle thatDunster describes as usingplanning gain to facilitate carbontrading. In other words, not onlydoes mixed use bring the socialand environmental benefits of a
WAKE UP CALL
As governments around the world struggle to providesufficient affordable homes in cities, BedZED has muchto teach architects, developers, and residents alike.
H
OUSING
, S
UTTON
, E
NGLAND
A
RCHITECT
B
ILL
D
UNSTER
A
RCHITECTS
 
1With south-facing sun spaces,BedZED’sterracesestablish analternative suburban prototype ...2... a stark contrast to the low-density, car-dominated streetscapeof the conventional existing housing.3Each one-bedroom loft apartmenthasitsown entrance and sky garden,set within the site’sdistinctiveroofscape.site plan123
 
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4While perimeter 3 bed maisonetteshave more conventional front gardensand balconies...5... mewsmaisonettesaccesstheir skygardensvia bridgesthat lead fromfirst-floor living rooms.
24 hour operation that sustainsdiverse communities andbalances energy loads aroundthe clock but, most significantly,the increased commercialrevenue relative to the cost ofthe land can be offset against thenecessarily front loaded costs ofproducing a carbon neutraldevelopment.Improved density is achievedthrough the resolution ofDunster’s integrated crosssection. Defined by solar accesscriteria, a few simple groundrules dictate that all dwellingsface south while workspacesface north. This in turngenerates four variant terraces,the cross sections of whichcombine spaces from up to fourself-contained units, each withtheir own entrance and externalgarden. By interlocking live-work spaces with maisonettes,loft apartments and two skygardens, the central terracesachieve a density in excess of100 homes per ha, providing 400rooms and 200 jobs per ha, and26 sq m of private gardencompared with 8 sq m of publicspace per home. A target that ifreplicated would reduce urbansprawl to about 25 per cent ofthe projected footprint over thenext 100 years, resulting in allour housing needs beingachievable on brown field sites.Following Tom Dyckhoff’sstirring review in the nationalpress, Dunster’s ZED Factoryhas been inundated with peoplewanting to do a ZED (a zeroenergy development). With a listof over 700 people it is clear thatBedZED is responding to a realneed, and when sufficientclusters of people emerge otherdevelopments will be built.It is for these reasons andmany more
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that it is especiallydisappointing that BedZED didnot win the recent RIBA StirlingPrize for Architecture; Britain’spremier award, that beingbroadcast on national television,has the potential to send a
typical crosssection through loft apartment accessstair and ventilation shafts(scale approx 1:200)typical crosssectiontypical north mewselevation showing ground level live-work units, accessstairsto loft apartments, sky gardensand bridges45
alive-work unitb3 bed maisonettecone bed loft apartmentdsky gardens
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