Housing complex - designing interaction in a city

This housing project was designed for ex-pat contract workers living and working in an African city. The units have two bedrooms, a large living space, kitchen, both private and shared garden spaces and a single garage. The main objective of the design was to create a comfortable 'home away from home' with private spaces but also many shared spaces where tenants could interact with, and get to know their neighbours. This is important because the life of a contract worker can be quite lonely. It is a bit naive to think that architecture can change people but I feel it is important to, as much as possible, facilitate and provide opportunities for people to change.

Joanne Hain Architect

beautiful places deserve beautiful spaces
Shared entrances
Effective community living can happen when opportunities are created for people to share spaces and experiences. A shared entrance is a great way to get to know your neighbour.
Complex entrance
Security is always a concern in a big city. Living in community in a complex like this creates a safer place to come home to. It is a small microcosm of a city inside the walls where there are other people around to interact with.
Creating texture & pattern
To create a distinct character for the complex a breeze block was used on certain suitable walls to create texture and pattern. It also reinforces the idea of breaking down the walls between neighbours.
Living room
High ceilings help to make smaller spacers feel more generous and spacious. The living rooms look onto a walled garden where clever planting creates an enticing small outdoor space.
High level windows in a kitchen allow for the maximum amount of cupboard and counter space. The kitchen still gets lots of natural light and feels open because of the high window and ceiling. The main kitchen area is open to the living room while a small scullery is available to hide any mess.
Indoor / outdoor shower
Small touches like this 'inside / outside' shower can give a simple house special character and a touch of luxury
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