project: Affordable Palace, refurbishment of Buckingham Palace year: 2019, type: open international competition program: affordable housing area: 500.000 m2, architecture: Opposite Office team: Benedikt Hartl, Thomas Haseneder, Willi Wagner location: London,UK
In an open international competition for affordable housing in London, we proposed to rebuild Buckingham Palace and add social housing. Affordable housing is one of the most important social problems in the big cities of our time. The ever-widening gap between rich and poor is growing faster than ever before.
Affordable Housing is one of the key social issues in major cities of our time. The ever-increasing gap between rich and poor is growing faster than ever before.
Affordable Housing? I’d prefer a palace to a house ...
The UK is in the midst of a housing crisis: the deepest ever, centered on London. Large parts of the population - ‚generation rent‘ and others - are locked out of the housing market and will remain so for the foreseeable future. Even someone with a good income will never catch up with the soaring housing prices. Property Guardianship and other precarious forms of living are on the rise, almost becoming the new norm. There are only a few who are satisfied with their homes. One is the Queen! Buckingham Palace is great! With its 775 rooms and 79 bathrooms the population density is not representative to the rest of London and Buckingham Palace is waiting for repurposing.
Affordable Palace was published extensivly in magaznes and newspapers in over 50 countries. Amongst many others, in:
The project was awarded 1st prize in the Social Design Award by SPIEGEL and SPIEGEL Wissen. The jury's statement reads: "Affordable Palace transforms the Royal Palace into an innovative co-living structure," as the project's description soberly puts it. But behind it lies a revolutionary idea: Buckingham Palace in London is to be raised by six floors and provide living space for 50,000 people. The fact that the Queen & Co. are claiming 775 rooms and 79 bathrooms for themselves is something the young architects from Munich-based Opposite Office no longer consider to be in keeping with the times of housing shortages and rent price explosions. Their design calls for clusters in which private bedrooms are grouped around shared dining and living rooms. Flexible partition walls allow for flexible living and housing models. Of course, the rent price is also to be capped, at eight euros per square meter. Efficient planning makes it possible to use relatively little space for hallways and stairwells. Of course, the architects know that their idea will remain an idea. But with "Affordable Palace," they want to make a provocative contribution to the discussion about the right to housing and social justice.