In 21st century London, the city’s outermost ring of suburbs houses nearly half of its population. Suburban living, however, life is far from idyllic. For many people, it consists of an endless, lonely cycle of sleeping for six hours, endlessly checking emails and social media, commuting to work, working ever-longer hours, and returning in the evening to fall asleep in front of a screen, exhausted. There is little space for self-expression, with residents becoming increasingly defined by what they do.
Sited in Palmers Green, near where I grew up, The Public House suggests an alternative future for The Fox - a now-deserted pub on Green Lanes, one of London’s longest and busiest roads. Once a key building within the community, it has now been slated for redevelopment into luxury flats, much to the chagrin of locals. A radical system for urban living is proposed which breaks away from cellular systems of housing and work - and from singularity of function - dissolving the binary conditions of privacy within the suburb.
Previously unacknowledged secondary functions are carefully designed for: the pub as a space for film, comedy and dance; the “chapel” as a centre for childcare and play; and the home as a space for work and self-expression. Each building is read as an extension of the public square; as such, the scheme can be seen as a house for the public, in which people are encouraged to argue, to be bored, to be content, to live, together.