Subtitle and Description and/or Project Title

Soft City Inhabitation is the third design project which BSc Architecture students undertake at the University of Reading, introducing the opportunities and responsibilities of the architect as a cultural and social activator. The aim is to critically interrogate consumer capitalism, and the increasingly tangible effects of climate change, investigating how the notion of dwelling, living and working can shape sustainable cohabitation.

Rather than setting out to solve a problem, the students engage with a place in a holistic manner, keeping in mind the impact of inhabitation on climate change and the impact on people’s lives with a ‘soft city’ approach. The project operates between individual, collective boundaries, intentional & public communities and address the possibility of architecture to respond and adapt to a constant mutation and flux in the city.

Students examine how people interact with their surroundings, moving from their homes and workplaces, step-by-step, outside, into the neighbourhood and into the wider city. They are asked to challenge traditional ideas of home ownership to those suited to community building and affordability. By questioning public/private space, proposals incorporate ‘co-housing’ principles for shared responsibility of common spaces at various hierarchies of scale, such as gardens, kitchens, dining areas, utility rooms, whilst still reflecting the local need for adaptable family dwellings of continuously changing size.

This project challenges us to examine our value of community and to consider issues of shared spaces and modes of inhabitation.