The quintessential home with three bedrooms and a private garden to the rear has ruled the roost as the ‘castle’ of choice for many ‘Englishmen’ since it’s genesis in the victorian period through to the uber-growth of the housing stock in the 1930s. This very individual and, perhaps for some, isolating approach has left little room for community and shared space, which is common in so many European countries. With housing stocks in Europe being a healthy mix of houses and apartments both period and new, the idea of sharing spaces and facilities is well practiced by our european cousins.
Most of us accept that living in more integrated communities leads to a better quality of life, a sense of belonging and of well being. Despite this, very little of the UK’s housing stock is geared to delivering against this understanding. At Fruit Market, as the homeowners determine the design of their own houses and the space around them, there is great potential to rethink outdoor space and its potential for residents. In this series of articles we’ve researched interesting examples of how neighbours have put their heads together to create great space outside their homes that have transformed their community and made where they live very special places.
One of the oldest ideas brings a modern community together
Headley Villas – Nottingham
Currently home to Fruit Market architect Matthew Letts, Headley Villas is a community of Victorian and Edwardian Houses set around a small public park. A group of like-minded neighbours came together to realise the potential of the green space in front of them which was underused and under cared for.
By working together as neighbours they transform this communal area every year with an annual festival called ‘The Stuff of Life’. Like an old fashioned street party, neighbours get together with local musicians and entertainment to have an annual shindig with the local community. It’s a great opportunity for new neighbours in the community to get to know existing residents and for old friends to become reacquainted. Without the communal space creating an event like this is much more difficult. Throughout the year this space is an informal meeting point for many of the neighbours and is used for summer parties for big family visits and special occasions.
The Headley Villas community has recently built an outdoor wood fired pizza oven which has become one of the focal points for the community. Community ovens have long been central to many rural community. The village bread oven was commonplace throughout europe and in particularly France and Italy. Wood fired baking died out with the convenience of electric and gas oven and commercialisation of baking but many village bread ovens survive today and there is growing trend throughout Europe to bring them back to life.
Shared among neighbours, the oven is a great facility and focal point for the community and a fun way of bringing people together. Why not have a shared oven at Fruit Market?