Video: Archiboo | Pocket’s Solution To London’s Housing Crisis

Published on: 16-02-2015

Russ Edwards, of Pocket, presents their vision for solving London’s housing crisis in this Archiboo Talk entitled ‘designing for the squeezed middle‘.

Archiboo - Pocket © Designing For The Squeezed Middle
Archiboo - Pocket © Designing For The Squeezed Middle

Founder of Archiboo, Amanda Baillieu, adds commentary on the video of the recent Archiboo talk on designing for the squeezed middle and the vision for the future.

Adrem is a sponsor of Archiboo’s mission to help architects become more creative in how they run and grow their practices through new thinking and new connections.

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Pocket: Private developers for middle-income first time buyers.

For average earning Londoners property prices have risen beyond anything they can afford without a huge deposit.

So begins Pocket’s pitch and its solution to the capital’s housing crisis.

Pocket is a developer, but a niche one.

Less than 10-years old, it delivers single-bedroom homes across London at 20% below local market prices.

While the homes may be tiny, they are well-designed and- unusually for a developer- Pocket thinks like a brand.

“We want a simple, clear and very direct message so all our projects are branded Pocket. We don’t brand individual schemes”, explained Russ Edwards, Pocket’s design director.

It’s a message that has gone done well with the GLA who gave the developer a £21.7 million interest free loan to build 4,000 homes by 2023, with the agreement that all profits have to be re-invested back into land.

However, Pocket’s model is “challenging” for local authorities because its developments are single tenure, single type, car free, and are higher density than current housing policy allows.

This is where design comes in explained Edwards, who worked as an architect before joining Pocket. “Exemplary design is one of the key ways of getting planning officer support” he said.

Pocket is also testing the waters with a new category, the 2-bed, 2-person home, because research suggests there is a market.

It invited 19 architectural practices to submit design ideas, but local authorities will take a lot of convincing to agree to homes just 54 metres sq. – however exemplary the design, said Edwards.

 

Archiboo was founded by Amanda Baillieu in 2014, and is supported by Adrem and Caro Communications.