‘Sleep has become work, hard work. It’s an obligation.’
— Beatriz Colomina
With increasing demands for a Universal Basic Income (UBI), Habit@ explore consequences of this being instituted in a project for Fish Island, east London. As UBI makes work a choice, how can our ways of organising time and space, public and private, and the family unit be transformed?
Answering this question, Habit@ defer to the bedroom, or more specifically, the bed, to reorientate our approach to domestic life in the hope that a good night’s sleep will facilitate more fulfilling lives. Proposed is a standard space, a ‘sleeping cell’, where occupants can compose and arrange various sleeping conditions.
Beyond this are private and semi-private spaces for cooking, working and communal amenities. These units form two housing blocks, one of stepping units and the other of more conventional shape. Dwellings catering to polyphasic sleeping patterns (those who nap throughout the day) are near the base and have better immediate access to the building’s amenities, while monophasic sleepers (those who sleep once during a 24-hour period) are at the top, further from potential disturbances.
Strips of concrete slab from an old scrapyard are retained, between which wild plants grow and water flows down to the adjacent canalside. Mounds of earth rise around the site, to remediate the soil of its toxic industrial residue and to partially buffer noise. Across this landscape, existing industrial buildings from the old scrapyard have been repurposed into more community amenities. These include a community hall, gym, contemplation space, impluvium, a centre for care, which hosts spaces for learning and play, and a ‘kiln’, which serves as a workshop, gallery and evening napping space-cum-cinema. Together, they form an estate where those liberated from conventional forms of labour by UBI can enjoy a life where free time –particularly time to sleep – is no longer a luxury.
Design Think Tanks
How can design improve the way we live in cities? Design Think Tanks (DTTs) at the LSA put forward proposals to help meet the targets set out in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
Design Think Tanks are collaborative projects between students and leading architectural practices at the London School of Architecture. The UN Sustainable Development Goals address the global challenges we face, including those related to poverty, inequality, climate, environmental degradation, prosperity, and peace and justice. They are a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all.
Each year the LSA selects a shortlist of DTT topics to be studied from a long list of suggestions made by the LSA Practice Network. The study topics suggested are ones that require urgent consideration, innovative thinking and design solutions that will generate significant social and environmental progress and beneficial urban change.
Students elect to work on one of the shortlisted study topics in collaborative groups of between six and eight led by senior staff from the sponsoring practice that suggested the DTT study topic. Generally, at least one member of each study group works with the sponsoring practice. LSA Faculty work with the DTT leaders to guide students through the research and design process.
We asked fourth-year students at the London School of Architecture to share their proposals for transforming the lives of Londoners in the borough of Hackney. Within eight design think tanks, students and practices collaborated to reimagine how we occupy our cities, as well as our relationship to work, food and travel.