Communal living comes to the capital

Copper Lane cohousing

London’s first cohousing project – where residents develop homes together and then live as a community, sharing spaces and amenities – has been completed.

The Stoke Newington scheme, which replaces a disused children’s nursery, is designed by Henley Halebrown Rorrison Architects. Called 1-6 Copper Lane, the development comprises six homes clustered around communal facilities comprising a shared hall, workshop and laundry.

The co-housing concept evolved in Denmark more than 50 years ago, although it has echoes of the way of living promoted in 1930s experiments in urban living, notably the rather more hotel-like Isokon Building in Hampstead, north London, which boasted a communal kitchen alongside a laundry service. Today cohousing principles are promoted in the UK by the UK Cohousing Network.

1-6 Copper Lane aims to be environmentally as well as socially responsible. The four three-storey houses are clad in untreated vertical timber board, while two two-storey houses are clad in brick. Collective impact on the environment has been minimised through the incorporation of a high-performance fabric and whole house mechanical ventilation with heat recovery. Embodied energy of construction has been considered throughout. The scheme has communal gardens at its perimeter.

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