Contemplating this new paradigm where generations must once more look out for one another, a family comprising of two households decides to build a house together. While the younger couple already lives in the city, the Grandparents were keen on moving back to the vicinity of urban amenities.
The goal of the project was to create a building where both families could enjoy each other’s company without sacrificing the advantages of private family life. As such two separate apartments are stacked on top of one another with the only connection being a communal entrance. While the project anticipates a greater dependency of the Grandparents, the immediate advantage of the close proximity of the two families is enjoyed through activities such as running errands, shared social gatherings and the occasional day-care for the children.
Adapting with time
For this mini-apartment building a concept was devised that would allow the building to accommodate changing spatial demands over time. The bottom apartment has an office and a direct relationship with the garden, making it ideal for a working family with young children. The elderly couple occupies the top apartment with generous views across the cityscape. This apartment has an elevator, level floors and wider door openings in order to accommodate wheelchairs. While it does not resemble an elderly home, all necessary preparations have been made for reduced physical ability.
Instead of reducing vertical circulation to a necessity, it occupies the heart of the building. Omnipresent as a sculptural element in the lower apartment, the staircase gradually transforms into a series of voids higher up in the building. By placing the vertical access system in the middle of the floorplan, the building is divided into a ‘fore’ and ‘aft’. Either side of the floorplan can be connected to one of two staircases to create a different configuration.
The building has been engineered to facilitate the transfer of space on the second floor. Initially used as a space for guests for the Grandparents’ apartment, the space can be easily added to the lower apartment through a few minor adjustments. The position of the double-helix staircase makes it possible to stretch the inter-generational living concept even further. Two studio apartments could be made on the North façade to allow the younger family’s children to live in the building past their adolescence.