The Collective Old Oak will be the world’s largest co-living space and will form a new hub for urban professionals in West London. Our design for this unprecedented building creates a new hybrid typology, redefining the architecture of living and working to suit the unique community of people that will develop here. The project reinvents collective living for today, laminating together a series of complimentary programs and atmospheres to form a strategy for the future of housing.
The provision of housing is in crisis, not just in London but around the world. How can we reinvigorate tired typologies and create a building which responds to the multitude of needs and networks of city dwellers? How can architecture capitalise on the cross pollination of different uses and users of a truly mixed use building?
Co-living building with 550 Micro-units, Communal Facilities including Kitchens, Spa, Gym, Restaurant, Games Room, Cinema, Library and Disco Launderette, and a Co-working Incubator Hub
Whittam Cox Architects
(former WCEC group)
The building takes the form of two slim volumes sliding across one another and centred on a central core. This central hub increases opportunities for interaction between residents, and makes circulation between floors as simple as possible.
A series of unique amenity spaces fills the central hub, each designed to appeal to millennials and to be used by all the building’s residents. A games room, spa, secret garden, cinema, library and disco launderette, many of which are directly connected to adjacent communal kitchens, which offer facilities above the kitchens in individual units. A key element of the design is the windows at the ends of each connecting hall which provide views out over the surroundings.
The two connected volumes sit on a large podium, which offers generous floor to floor heights and total transparency to accommodate the co-working floor, communal gym, restaurant, lobby and a retail space. More than 700 square metres of landscaped gardens are spread across two roof terraces on the building’s podium, offering views out over the landscape and the canal and providing spaces for events in summer.
The building’s upper stories are lifted up above a public plaza facing onto the canal by a dramatic branching column in fire engine red. This gesture of deference to the public space and collective activity by the canal sets the building apart from a standard residential block, offering up a piece of space for communal use.
The building is clad almost entirely in glass which reflects the lighting conditions at any given time of day. Its luminescent form shines on the skyline as a beacon of the area’s regeneration, and as a thesis for the future of collective living.