Floating flats on the Thames, cities in the sky and a metropolis near the M25: these are just some of the ambitious plans submitted by over 200 architects from around the world to help solve London's current housing crisis. The ideas have been collected together as part of a competition organised by New London Architecture
With a growing population and David Cameron's promise to take in refugees from the Middle East, the debate about where to house everyone continues. Many of the radical proposals in this competition suggest ways of increasing density by taking advantage of redundant space in city centres, around stations, in the suburbs or on London's waterways.
From the 100 shortlisted ideas, the Floatopolis (pictured above) particularly caught our attention. Schemes proposed by Baca Architects and dRMM would see London's canal network, the docks and the Thames transformed into Venetian-like water neighbourhoods, providing floating housing alongside lidos, office space, schools and cinemas.
Also intriguing are designs that involve re-purposing rooftops; Parson's Brickerhoff suggests that 630,000 new homes could be built on top of hospitals, schools and libraries (providing they can take the weight).
While many might dream of demolishing their home to build something bigger and better, we were less convinced by Alastair Parvin and Adam Towle's Right to Replace scheme which would offer home-owners the chance to demolish their properties then build a dream home using half the space.
This would however free up the space for Akira Yamanaka Architects submission of inserting micro-housing in the gaps between terraced and semi-detached homes.
Other plans include redeveloping land around the M25 to create a megacity to rival London; and the more eco-friendly idea of building on roads thereby creating pedestrian-friendly zones — great for cyclists and the environment.
All the ideas will go on display in the exhibition New Ideas for Housing from 15 October to 17 December at the NCA galleries in The Building Centre. The exhibition is accompanied by a programme of events to establish how London’s housing needs can be met.