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How the design of your home can enrich your life

Case study: Building Blocks Community

Building Blocks aims to help people transition out of homelessness and re-enter into the community. This concept was designed as part of a competition in which the challenge was: how to smoothly reintegrate homeless people into society. We tackled this challenge by designing a context for organic natural interactions amongst the residents on a variety of levels, namely individual (private rooms), collective (kitchen, living room) and societal (gardens).

Connect & Learn through Communal Activities
Besides the functions designed for individuals, this community space hosts group activities such as workshops and study spaces. People can come here to talk to one another & connect. Kids for instance can come here to learn from the community. These functions are open to the public to share the experience and learnings from such a sustainable lifestyle and through these activities a sense of mutual support is triggered to gradually enhance the integration of the residents.

Building Blocks is a tiny home community designed to offer different types of spaces with a range of private/public levels that foster different types of interactions, thus easing the transition of individuals and helping them build new futures. This community space also serves as a working example and case study of a net-zero energy community through its surrounding community garden. This community garden is both a semi-public garden and public garden in which, in conjunction with the goal of self-sufficiency and sustainability, local food can be grown and prepared in the common kitchen. This in turn can be served at a public café which is a perfect opportunity to connect with citizens from the city.

Regarding the net-zero energy cycle, through openings, air and natural light is brought into the space allowing a natural ventilation through the building that ultimately contributes to the energy cycle. The building has several systems installed that support this cycle:
1. Wind system

2. Adaptive building system
3. Water system
4.Electrical and heating system

A Composition of Spaces
We also believe that having the right balance between private and public areas will give the residents a sense of home, belonging, importance and purpose. That is why spaces in the Building Blocks vary from permanent fixed-use spaces (such the laundry room and showers) to permanent flexible-use spaces (the eating area/café) and then to impermanent spontaneously created spaces, such as the terraces and porches which can be created by the moving blocks back and forth manually.

The flexibility of the lightweight blocks can also maximize sun exposure on either the garden or the block itself.

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