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If Only… houses on busy roads could be turned around


As I drove out of London on two arterial roads, I mused on the condition of the roadside houses and the pressures of 24-hour traffic. There were houses aided, abetted or neglected by councils' devices to protect road-users and contain traffic.

I sketched plans of the inter-wars' and post-war type of house, and imagined existing rooms and new spaces, back, side, top, and so on; I began to visualise other pressures on the household: number, age-range needs and ability.

houses on busy roads could be turned around

I drew new gaps, maps, new groupings, new interiors and patterns in plan and section of four model neighbourhoods on and of such roads.

These patterns suggested to me new shared structures and organisations. Plans at two or three scales tackle interior detail and the neighbourhood.

houses on busy roads could be turned around

What remains is the future; to find and meet 'real' people and see situations in which the proposition can be practically tested.

Graham Modlen: 'After leaving the AA (with hons in 1980) and spells in small o¬ ices, I launched into a work partnership during the Eighties, with teaching before, during and after. In 1990, I started work for Zaha Hadid, and did so until 2007. A brief but misguided stint in practice -- and redundancy -- followed, seeing me once again freelance in 2010. Since then, I have carried out householder and other one-o commissions, and a public-orientated, still theoretical, housing project based on sites in the suburbs around London.'