Our First Project … A Competition

Our first project of the year was introduced to us yesterday afternoon, being an international university competition run by the University of Portsmouth called “Designing for the Third Age“. All we were told at the time was that it was about multi-generational living.

In our own time, our task was to read the brief completely (which you can find at http://www.port.ac.uk/departments/academic/architecture/competition/) and think about what we could do with the brief (as it is quite vague!) and decide whether we would like to work alone or with someone else.

A short outline from the brief:

  • A project brief for a housing design project ‘from 8 to 80’ is to encourage the concept of the flexible house and to inspire visionary ideas.
  • Developing the concept of the ‘lifetime home’ from accommodating a child to an aging adult.
  • The task is to respond to the changing contexts of living by considering 5 ‘moments’ in the lifetime of the home illustrating this emerging change.
  • To explore a series of different living scenarios across a lifetime.
  • Frame these 5 ‘moments’ as a series of A3 images. The 5 periods to consider are; 1. Young single or couple occupancy, 2. family with young children, 3. Family with teenage children, 4. Mid life single or couple, 5. Later in life single or couple.


I read the brief thoroughly three times and let it sink in, in the mean time I decided to work with someone else, my friend Brit. We then went on to brainstorm individually to see what we both came up with and eventually try to use a bit of each person’s initial ideas.

I brainstormed from the ‘8-80’ and what sorts of living space would be required etc for each stage of life.

  • Growing up (young children): school (possible desk space), playing space
  • Career building (young adults): private working area, work-from-home environment
  • Family life: room to play, indoors and out, think about various safety precautions, an adult’s sanctuary (private space)
  • Later on in life (elderly): stairs need to become ramps (or stair lifts), disabled friendly features and safety precautions, single storey living

I then went on from this to think about how these different types of spaces could work within the one building, so I came up with zones for them. For example, a relaxed ‘zone’, a playing ‘zone’ and a working ‘zone’. These could be split by split leveling the space – similar to an american loft.

Also, quite a lot of the stages of life have similar needs, for example, children and the elderly need a variety of safety precautions and on one level, so maybe it could be a good idea to have the ‘zones’ interchangeable with each other so you wouldn’t need a large area of space as a whole. For example, the children’s playing area could then change into a relaxing space for elderly hobbies.

Brit was brainstorming the 5 ‘moments’ which made her think about having one initial room with one focus point or piece of furniture which doesn’t change as other aspects of the space can – like change in furniture and storage solutions etc.

These were our initial thoughts on the brief which got both Brit and I thinking about the different things we could do and show in our five A3 images.


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