Friends. Remember what spending time with them was like? We explore a group of friends who have taken things a step further in the second in our 'Future of Living' series. How we look at living will dictate the future of life on earth for centuries to come. As mentioned in the first in our series, the desire to live separately is based on a development in the 20th and 21st centuries. This trend has led to a property boom and with it excessive consumption of materials and manpower.
So, is there an alternative? Teaming up with close friends to collaborate on a project would not necessarily be what most people would opt for. However, a group of people based in Antwerp did just that.
Finding a building big enough to accommodate four families would put enough people of the project before it even took off. When they came across a former police station, the group began work on splitting the building up into four dwellings.
Instilling a sense of individuality into the interiors was essential to allow each family to live as they would want but with the added benefit and support of being extremely close to their friends. Shared spaces like the basement, converted into a laundry room, and the garden provide opportunities for natural meetings as well as planned get togethers. With views orientated towards the shared garden the house feels like an oasis where the four families can grow.
Furthermore, sustainable elements such as the use of wood in the designing of the interiors make sure the units stay eco-friendly. A green roof with solar panels for water heating and rainwater recovery, keep utility costs low.
Sustainable living is far too regularly associated with out of town buildings for wealthy families. By offering a different option these four families paves the way for further instances of this relatively unique setup.