a landscape problem

February 25th, 2009

Happy birthday blog, you just turned 5 years old.

Here’s an interesting article on static caravan parks:

Trailers have long interested Morrish. He likes the simplicity of long, narrow, free-standing structures. Light and breezes come in from either side. If ceilings are pushed to 10 feet or higher, small rooms can feel much larger. And since most walls are exterior walls, the possibilities of adjacent gardens and indoor/outdoor spaces are many.

He had no quarrel, really, with the new urbanist movement. But stacking homes above retail shops along transit corridors can’t happen everywhere. Besides, there’s a “formula” to new urban design that doesn’t appeal to Morrish’s eclectic tastes.

And you thought I was kidding when I cited the caravan as fertile ground for housing ideas.

caravantgarde

More from Morrish:

His new book, “Growing Urban Habitats, Seeking a New Housing Development Model,” will be out in June. It begins with a proposal to refashion an aging trailer park in Charlottesville, Va., and ends with a design that interlaces long, narrow structures that are affordable, sustainable and well-suited to the valley just below Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello estate.

“The project is fairly dense, but it doesn’t just stack units up into the air.”

Ok, point taken. I was exagerating for impact. Yet my drawing does rather neatly sum up the problem. Ask an architect about the opportunities for prefabricated housing and trailer park living and they’ll turn it into a building problem. A Rubik’s cube challenge of Lego-like simplicity.

As I said in the flickr comments for the image above, over at Axis we keep having conversations about housing models that get the balance right between independence and community/neighbourhood and we always end up at trailer parks. When those conversations turn into a live project we need to remember that this is a landscape problem, an infrastructure problem, a state vs. private, freehold/leasehold land ownership, territory problem. Not a building problem that’s solved with a crisp, cutaway axonometric.

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