Future Homes for London: Alternate Models

A two day international architecture conference exploring alternative housing organisations


09:30am, Friday, 13 April 2018


06:30pm, Saturday, 14 April 2018

Organised by the Royal College of Art, St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust, Haringey, RCA City Design, The Architecture Foundation and Baylight Foundation  

Venue: Lecture Theatre One, Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU (entrance via Jay Mews)        


This is a past event

The objective of these series of events over two days is to pull apart and question alternate models of affordable and community-led housing projects for the UK. Using global exemplars – from Swiss projects based on nineteenth century co-operative legal structures such as Kraftwerk I and Mehr als Wohnen in Zurich, new Spanish co-operatives addressing community ageing (La Borda), to the Nightingale structure developed within the specific legal and financial constraints of Australian law – this event will ask what, within the context of the UK, is possible? What works and why, and how do we learn from other places, recognizing the specificity of our legal jurisdiction, financial structures, and cultural limitations?

Future Homes for London: Alternate Models will discuss: case studies and precedents; the consequences of different legal frameworks; co-operative models and land tenure systems in relationship to participation, ongoing management, and governance; the financing of housing projects – patient capital and the perception of risk; procurement structures; and the role of architecture, especially in negotiating difference productively through design.

Participants will hear from those developing, building, designing, leading and living in new projects globally and learn from their experience of delivering alternate housing.

Day 1: Global Precedents of Community-led and -owned Housing

Date: 13th April 2018

Often policy makers and developers see ‘community led’ as no more than glorified consultation, or as a way to navigate the planning process. Communities often talk of ‘community led’, but really mean full community control of housing and amenities. This can include the design process, full ownership of the property on completion, who lives in the development, rental and sales prices fixed in perpetuity by covenants in ownership contracts, and ongoing management. To make it more than just a place where people live, can community groups actively build communities as well as housing – where we might replace the term housing with the notion of civil society? This is not uncommon in other parts of the world. Why do we continue to wait for someone’s permission to do it here in the UK?

Common to many of the international projects that will be discussed is the role of the design process in the negotiation of difference amongst co-operative members and the coming into form of the project. Here, co-operative members navigating competing desires and ambitions for a project are innovating the shared spaces and amenities of multi-residential housing projects, moving away from the usual one two and three bedroom apartments sent to market by developers. These are projects either led by architects, or that involve co-op members who are architects.

The series of presentations are from architects and housing activists operating globally. They will deal with processes, give stories and accounts of specific projects, and speak about experiments in new, shared amenity at the scale of the building block and the dwelling unit.


9:30 Welcome by Adrian Lahoud (Dean, School of Architecture, RCA)
9:35 Introduction by Tony Wood (StART)
9:45 Introduction to Day 1 Tarsha Finney (RCA)
10:00-13.00: International Case Studies Part 1
10.00 - 10.30  Cristina Gamboa (Lacol), La Borda, Barcelona
10.30 - 11.00  Jeremy McLeod (Breathe Architecture), The Commons, Melbourne
11.30 - 12.00 Christoph Schmidt (ifau), R50, Berlin
12.00 - 12.30 Christian Roth (Zanderroth Architekten), BIGyard, Berlin
12.30 - 1.00 Claudia Thiesen (Mehr Als Wohnen), Kraftwerk I, Zurich
13:00-14:00 Lunch break
14.00-15.30:  International Case Studies Part 2
Jeremy McLeod: The Nightingale Principle, Melbourne.
Paul Karakusevic: Camden/New York

16.00-18.00: Panel Discussion

Discussion of participation, conflict, negotiation, and constituting community through the coming into form of the project. Clarifying the possible relationships and terms between community and housing development and its different national contexts. 

  • Tony Wood (StART)
  • Paul Karakusevic (Karakusevic Carson Architects)
  • Frances Northrop (Consultant, NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme)
  • Catherine Harrington (Director, National CLT Network)
  • Jeremy McLeod
  • Claudia Thiesen
  • Cristina Gamboa
  • Stephen Hill
  • Chaired by Tarsha Finney (RCA)


Day 2: The UK Context: Community Control and Financing of Housing

Date: Saturday 14th April 2018

Until recently the general narrative has been ‘the market will provide’ when it comes to house building but this strategy is a failure for most people. Recently, the delivery of genuinely affordable and community-led housing has risen up the political agenda and raises a series of questions: What is genuinely affordable and who should housing be owned and managed by? What constitutes and legitimises a community to take control of housing projects? How are alternate models of housing to be scaled up to match the UK housing demand and what financing and procurement models are needed? Can public and private capital work with community organisations and philanthropy to achieve this?

The second day will be framed by StART, a group of local residents and workers who have initiated a community-led and transparent process for a 800-unit housing development in Haringey that puts local people in control, with the aim to provide genuinely affordable housing.


  • 10:00: Welcome by Adrian Lahoud (Dean, School of Architecture, RCA)
  • 10.05 Introduction by Tony Wood (StART)

10:15-12:45: Community Control: What Could It Look Like?

  • Vanessa Ricketts (StART)
  • Catherine Harrington (Director, National CLT Network)
  • Dinah Roake (Atlas, Homes and Communities Agency)
  • Chaired by Adrian Lahoud (RCA)

12:45-13:30: Lunch  D612

13:30-16:00: How Do We Fund Affordable Housing?

  • Marlene Barrett (StART)
  • Stephen Hill  (Director, C20 futureplanners)
  • Frances Northrop (Consultant, NEF/Co-operatives UK, Community Economic Development)
  • Pete Gladwell (Head of Public Sector Partnerships, Legal & General Investment Management)
  • Chaired by Paul Karakusevic (Karakusevic Carson Architects)

16:30-18:30 The Future of Community-led Housing

Hosted by The Architecture Foundation

This event will bring together a series of architects leading co-operative housing projects in countries as diverse as Switzerland, Spain and Australia with co-operative housing leaders in London to discuss the value of design as part of the process of bringing community together, and how we might make it happen in London and the UK. 

  • Annabel Kennedy (StART)
  • Chris Brown (Executive Chair, igloo Regeneration)
  • Jeremy McLeod (Breathe Architecture)
  • Claudia Thiesen (Mehr Als Wohnen)
  • Cristina Gamboa (Lacol, Barcelona)
  • Paul Karakusavic (KCA)
  • Christian Roth (Big Back Yard)
  • Christoph Schmitt (R50)
  • Chaired by Phineas Harper (Architecture Foundation)




St Ann’s Redevelopment Trust (StART)

StART is a truly ambitious community-led housing project. A Community Land Trust of local residents and workers we aim to build 800 high quality, secure and genuinely affordable homes on a former hospital site in Haringey. Our aim is to protect, develop and redesign this unique site and to build a thriving neighbourhood run by the community. We offer a radical approach to London's housing crisis, a beacon project for the city and the UK. StART believes in three principles:

· HOUSING: people should be able to stay in their communities in well-designed, genuinely affordable homes, secure for life.

· HEALTH: people should live in a community that promotes well-being.

· ENVIRONMENT: we want to preserve the sites architectural and woodland heritage. Any new construction needs to have long term sustainability.


Cristina Gamboa (Lacol)

Lacol is a cooperative of architects who work in the neighbourhood of Sants in Barcelona. We work from architecture to social transformation, using it as a tool to intervene critically in the nearest environment. We believe that the way of transforming the city is through the active participation of the people who inhabit it and of the propositional action. We work on the interests related to the quality of life of all the people who share the city. We encourage, among others, a debate and discussion on the uses of spaces and the management of urban spaces, city models, participation and heritage recovery.


Jeremy McCleod (Breathe Architecture)

McLeod is the founding director of Breathe Architecture, a practice known for delivering high-quality design and sustainable architecture on projects of all scales. Breathe instigated the Nightingale Housing movement after trialling a new model for delivering housing through the award-winning project of sustainable apartments called The Commons. Jeremy believes that architects, through collaboration, can drive real positive change in our changing cities.


Silvia Carpaneto (Carpaneto Schöningh Architekten)

In Berlin, more than 100 group projects have been completed over the last 15 years, and in 2014, around one in six of all the new homes in the city were self-organised by local communities. This project, on a site overlooking the River Spree is one of the largest and most innovative. The co-op was formed in June 2007 when a group of Berliners came together as part of the “Media-Spree Versenken” (Stop the Media City Complex) initiative. The group was keen to come up with an alternative to the office buildings that were proposed for the site and wanted to ensure the Spree riverside remained open for public use.


Christoph Schmidt (ifau)

Schmidt is member of the institute for applied urbanism founded in 1998 by a group of architects. Ifau’s work includes architectural and urban design, research projects, installations and events in the urban context, including R50, a collaborative housing project in Berlin. As a main issue ifau investigates the possibilities to translate urban difference and diversity into architectural and urban space. All projects aim to involve and inscribe contextual processes creating space for negotiation in the design. Flexibility and specificity are characteristics of the generated models. Designed space is formed by negotiation or for negotiation to enhance the practical value of its everyday performance.


Christian Roth (Zanderroth Architekten)

The project was implemented as a joint venture. The specialist coordinators SmartHoming supervised the 72 partners in constructing the building under autonomous responsibility. No development company carried the risk and profited from the project, so the square-metre prices were well below the market level. From room layouts to bathroom tiling, the 72 owners could full their own interior requirements. Everything affecting the community, such as the façade, shell construction and garden design, was planned by the architects in coordination with the group.


Claudia Thiesen

Claudia is a board member of the building cooperative mehr als wohnen in Zurich, a founding member of PAK (Praxis für angewandte Kunst), president of cooperative Gleis70, a member of Plattform Genossenschaften and project leader of the housing cooperative Warmbächli, Bern.


Paul Karakusevic

Paul established Karakusevic Carson Architects to improve the quality of social housing in London. His focus is the delivery of successful and sustainable neighbourhoods, mixed-tenure housing and civic buildings that reflect both their unique, local sense of place and the real needs of the communities involved. Paul is a Design Advisor to the HCA/GLA, Urban Design London and Design Council/CABE and lends his experience to audits, critiques and review and awards panels of major initiatives and projects across the UK.


Catherine Harrington (Director, National CLT Network)

As director of the National CLT Network, the official charity for Community Land Trusts in England and Wales, Catherine has been instrumental in gaining the growing political support for community-led housing and secured the £300 million Community Housing Fund, among other campaigning successes. Prior to setting up the Network, Catherine worked for the Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government in housing policy, the Notting Hill Housing Trust in policy development and at the Institute for Public Policy Research. Catherine has an MSc in City Design and Social Science from the London School of Economics and a BA Hons in Social Anthropology from the University of Cambridge.


Dinah Roake (Atlas, Homes and Communities Agency)

Dinah has put tens of thousands of volunteer hours over the past 8 years to help Brixton Green work in co-production with Lambeth Council to deliver a community controlled project for over 200 homes at rents which can be locally afforded. She has been a practicing architect for 30 years, working in community architecture, social housing and more recently on the ‘client’ side in HCA, taking her listening and design problem solving skills into public policy and placeshaping. She is also one of very few architects who understands development finance, and how to challenge the convention of developer return on capital invested.


Frances Northrop (Consultant, NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme)

Frances is a freelance consultant, working with communities as an adviser for the the NEF/Co-ops UK Community Economic Development Programme. She is also a Director of Totnes Community Development Society. Her background is in community led development including co-production around health and social care, the establishment of community and social enterprises, relationship building across three tiers of local government, regeneration and asset transfer and management. She is also involved in neighbourhood planning in Totnes.


Pete Gladwell (Head of Public Sector Partnerships, Legal & General Investment Management)

Pete leads Legal & General’s direct investments into partnerships with the Public Sector, with particular passions for Social and Affordable Housing, new models of Care provision, and investment into regeneration around the country.  Before this, Pete created new funds to enable long term capital to invest into social infrastructure, now totalling over £5 billion, and to enable Defined Contributions pension funds to invest more efficiently in real estate – leading L&G’s partnership with the government’s NEST pension scheme.


Stephen Hill  (National CLT Network and UK Cohousing Network)

Stephen is a trustee of the National CLT Network and chairs the UK Cohousing Network.

He works as an independent public interest practitioner in planning and housing development, advising central and local government, developers and community housing groups. His first experience of community-led housing project, a self-commissioned tenant management cooperative new build development dates from 1976, inspired by Ralph Erskine’s work in Newcastle, with the Byker community. In 2014, he visited the USA and Canada as a Churchill Fellow to examine different approaches to co-production by the ‘state’ and citizens of housing and neighbourhood development through community organising for housing and democratic participation in Community Land Trusts.


Chris Brown (Executive Chair, igloo Regeneration)

Chris founded the igloo business in 2001 with the belief that value is created from sustainable approaches to regeneration. With collaborators, Chris spearheaded the launch of the igloo regeneration fund, managed by Aviva Investors. This was described by the United Nations as “the world’s first responsible real estate fund” and uses the internationally acclaimed sustainable investment policy, footprint.