The village of Portsunlight (constructed 1888-1910) is a grade II listed housing complex originally made to house the resident workers of the Lever soap factory. It was founded by the Lever brothers who were philanthropists, meaning they believed in investing profits into improving the social and economic status of people with less opportunity. They took pride in providing workers with houses which were to a much better standard than the usual workhouses of the Victorian era. In fact the average victorian workhouse held 40 dwellings per acre, however William Lever decreased this to 10 dwellings per acre meaning every house had space for a garden and an allotment to grow their own food.
Port sunlight is especially famed for its diverse architecture which features numerous individual house styles including Tudor, Edwardian and Georgian. In total port sunlight has contributions from over 30 architect firms, it acts as an example of how housing styles of different time periods can mesh, clash and contrast to make an urban fabric.
Step by step
Now it’s your turn to make your own series of contrasting house types! Choose an area in your locality. Pick a building that already exists. Design buildings inspired by Port sunlight around it.
For example, I chose Keeling House in Tower Hamlets, and am designing buildings around it. Tower Hamlets Council want you to design three new house types to accompany the existing building, Keeling house. You can print out a template to draw on here, or redraw the existing building and context yourself onto your paper.
Make up some characters to live in your houses. Think about the kind of people who will live in your new houses, how can the building reflect their needs and personality. For example, are they a family who needs lots of rooms? Do they need a bungalow because of access requirements? Would it be helpful if all houses were connected?
Here are some potential components to your building which you may want to use in your houses, also make up your own. Be as creative and imaginative as possible! Think about merging and mixing architectural styles you see every day.
Get drawing! Be creative! Even expand the street, expand the street to include more buildings.
This game was made by Teshome Douglas-Campbell, freelance artist and architectural consultant.