Sloughland_Colour is Life

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Colour, Model, Students

Sloughland_Colour is Life

Charles McLaughlin


“Dear Chief Secretary, I’m afraid there is no money. Kind regards- and good luck!”

Liam Byrne, Chief Secretary to the Treasury,Labour 2010

Sloughland is a community-led housing scheme that was a reaction to a controversial planning proposal in Slough, England and looks to the idea of creating an alternative economic model as a way to fund the design.

Sited in a strip of suburbia that is undergoing change, an existing collective of concerned residents strive to intercept the planning process of three urban villas set to replace a row of abandoned houses. Their shared passion for change, manifests itself into a new way about delivering housing.

Alternative Build-To-Let Model:
Concerned residents re-mortgage their residency into a shared bond, were the accumulation of wealth is distributed to construct the fundamentals of the architecture e.g. infrastructure. Individuals or large groups apply to undertake residency and pay low-rent to the collective. Through capital gains, allows for reinvestment into community, creating amenities that people require i.e. shops, daycare, and cultural centre.

‘A terrace of row houses as a unified composition resembling a single large mansion or palace’

Stefan Muthesius,’The English Terraced House’

The existing site holds a row of Late Arts & Craft English Terraced Houses, a vernacular that has long been used as a way to guarantee property sales across the UK. Sloughland adopts the same vernacular as a public facing exterior, holding a private interior filled with a set of spaces for all to use.



Who influences you graphically?

As for the design-representative level, I’ve been influenced by a series of figures, between architects and artists; Peter Salter, SAANA, Assemble and Jean-Jacques Sempe.


What is your take on colour?

Colour is life, because a world without colour would be a world without life. Colours can change the way we perceive both the architectural spaces and its representation.
I recently visited India, a country dependant on the use of colour when expressing their identity, people and places.

Your image references the OMA – Masterplan for the Parc de la Villette, Pari, what is the reason and effect of such a direct reference?

The Parc de la Villette Masterplan was drawn under a pre-digital world; there was not a single piece of software involved in the process of making. It represents a time when architects and students were inventing their own drawing style appropriating other techniques i.e. collage, axonometric.
The drawing boasts that the hand drawn can be as powerful than any digitally produced drawing when manifesting ideas. The drawings sense of humour is an observation on human activities and I felt this humorous depiction could help describe the narrative of my project in an exciting way.


How did the model help in further exploring the proposal?
By making models it allows oneself to go through a process of abstraction, and what you end up with is the essence of the architecture. It results with just the qualities of space.


How could the articulation of the project through a formal proposal have reinforced the political and social stance of the project?

As ideology of austerity takes hold of England (more so here than elsewhere in the union) the project asks what are the alternatives? And how can it use one to deliver socially responsible architecture. Currently, many Cities face terrible housing crises, were the architectural discipline fosters a reputation as a pragmatic figure within the urban realm. Architecture also exists as a kind of redundant or residual by-product – a redundancy cruelly evidenced in the 600,000 abandoned houses in the UK. The project aims to utilise a series of abandoned houses, as a mean to enhance community and create capital.

Unfortunately, a lot of architects have a pre-designed approach that they force into whatever context and culture they get to and where all sense of hearing from the people gets lost. Sloughland envisions a resilient autonomous state, where the people are the catalyst to stimulate design and place-making.



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