Hawkwood Rd. car park development: design for the future please.

If you’re not familiar with Hawkwood Rd. car park, it’s located in the centre of Boscombe, running parallel with Boscombe High Street. Here’s a map to save you some time searching on Google Maps.

Hawkwood Rd. car park in Central Boscombe
Proposed redevelopment of Hawkwood Rd. car park outlined in red

The history of housing in the UK is a repetitive loop of subdivision to meet demand

It’s a simple truth. Subdividing properties has been a national past-time for the last 50 years, because demand astronomically outweighs supply. Building new homes is essential and we’re doing it, but one area we seem to be failing in is future-proofing. We’re so busy rushing to solve the problems of the past, that we’re forgetting to proactively solve the problems of the future at the same time.

Utilising roof space

There is a scandalous failure with blocks of flats in this country to not utilise the roof space properly. It’s a cost saving mechanism. If residents aren’t allowed to use the roof, the structural support for it doesn’t need to be so robust, so it costs less. Our concept design throws this out the window and says no, the roof should be communal leisure and recreational space.

Where’s the parking?

The parking is underground, where it should be. Is developing downwards more expensive than upwards? Yes. Are we blessed with an abundant amount of cheap land that we can rezone for vital parking? No. Let’s not waste a golden opportunity to retain all of that parking while also gaining the housing just to save a few pounds.

What’s that turbine in the roof?

The turbine in the roof is a renewable energy wind turbine. When we thought about the design of these conceptual flats we looked at how buildings are designed in this country, and we realised if we’re going to future-proof it we’re doing it the wrong way round.

Don’t build homes and add renewable energy sources. Build renewable energy sources and add homes.

If we took away all of the flats from our conceptual building we would end up with the following model.

A central wind energy generating structure with integrated housing

Takeaway

In the UK we have had and continue to have an undeniable obsession with property and its value. We tell ourselves it’s because we’re an island and so there’s limited space. In reality, we don’t have a problem with limited space, it’s the way that we utilise that space that causes us so many headaches.

Not your average social enterprise