Back Garden City

‘Back Garden City’ proposes new homes for multi-generational living within under-utilised back gardens in Knowle West, a low-density post war suburb of Bristol built to ‘Garden City’ principles that is replicated across the UK. The designs reflect our on-going work with Knowle West Media Centre and their We Can Make project.

It is proposed that new homes could be built to the back of these plots for family members to live independently, whilst still in close proximity to the main dwelling.

These could be developed in multiple configurations and unit sizes. An individual family could create an annexe for an elderly parent, or separate dwelling for an adult son/daughter living at home. Neighbours might choose to develop a unit across gardens for a young couple wanting to remain in an area. Groups of existing residents or local authority land owners could offer their back gardens to form clusters of dwellings, community facilities, or a cohousing development. 

The principles that we have followed aim to make the homes appropriate for the back garden sites, practical to build, and great places to live. We have tried to deal with issues of overlooking, scale, parking, and privacy as well as seeking to enable a sense of community.

Individual units are modular and use a mix of high and low-tech construction methods. We are currently exploring different building techniques and negotiating with delivery partners. We conceived of the design as being a brick garden wall that houses a simple timber structure... this allows the building to be site-built in a 'conventional' way with local labour, or pre-fabricated in off-site factories. (KWMC are interested in setting up such a house-building factory to employ a local workforce). We are also investigating how new materials and technologies (such as Tufeco's foam glass SIPs) might be a quicker, more cost effective way to deliver contemporary design.