03 April 2024

‘The Nest’ long listed for The Davidson Prize

We’re delighted to announce that our entry, ‘The Nest’, has been long listed for the 2024 Davidson Prize. In collaboration with Office Sian, Poplar HARCA, Studio Knight Stokoe, Webb Yates Engineers and Jane Derges, our proposal investigates how affordable housing can future proof the legacy of community landmarks.

The Festival of Britain played a key part in reimagining London’s Poplar neighbourhood as a new, aspirational, community-first Britain that celebrated the value of homes for all. Today however, much has changed. In Tower Hamlets, the most diverse and densely populated borough in the country, space is at a premium with multi-generational families living in overcrowded homes.

The Nest addresses the limited opportunities available to young adults wishing to take a first step away from home, whilst staying close to family, friends and community. It breathes new life into well-known, yet underused, town centre follies and community buildings, doubling up as homes for young people. A new form of social tenancy is offered at Chrisp Street Market’s Clock Tower and Trussler Hall, where tenants become civic guardians, activators and energisers of these underutilised assets, championing social connectedness and community. A diversity of skillsets, ideas and ties to community are the highest forms of currency – The Nest’s residents might include a trainee doctor, boxing coach, or care worker.

In exchange, The Nest offers a unique living experience within a community-focussed, regenerative, climate-resilient landscape. Constructed using prefabricated structural cork, it upcycles a waste byproduct into lightweight modular blocks forming structure, insulation and waterproofing. Starting with Poplar, The Nest is imagined as a series of low-cost, low-carbon interventions that plug into every existing civic structure around the country, providing guardianship in exchange for low-energy homes with private, shared and public spaces, and revitalising the neighbourhood for both existing communities and future generations.

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