The architects, the social change experts and the housing commissioners

Rethinking Intergenerational Housing

A grant funded collaborative R&D project for a strategic method of commissioning intergenerational housing


How did the collaboration come about?

Matter Architecture began investigating the subject in response to the perception of segregation of housing and facilities by age across the industry. Discussion and collaboration with Camden Council and Baxendale resulted in a successful Innovate UK funding application, led by Matter. Other collaborators joined following the funding approval.


How did the collaborators collaborate?

Matter Architecture led the research with an Innovate UK grant, analysing existing examples of intergenerational housing to identify common areas of success, whilst avoiding the pitfalls.
Baxendale developed a social impact framework for commissioners to shape projects to deliver identified objectives.
Camden Council acted as a pilot client commissioner to develop the framework, identify project objectives for Camden and supported primary research in existing housing settings.
Origin Housing acted as a pilot test home for establishing intergenerational activities
Ealing Council acted as a pilot client commissioner to embed the principles into a strategy for older adults housing
Other collaborators helped to develop the strategy and framework through workshops: GLA, Sarah Wigglesworth Architects, Clarion, the RIBA, the RSA, the Young Foundation, Essex County Council, Haringey Council, Enfield Council, Peabody, Housing LIN, United for All Ages, the Kohab

What were the most important factors that contributed to the success of this project?

Combination of skill sets

The ‘big’ idea

Commitment of participants

Social impact

Available funding


Project funding

Innovate UK grant, followed by client commissions

Will the project continue beyond COVID-19 lockdown?

Yes, although the research was conducted pre-COVID, the issues of loneliness and segregation that the project seeks to address have become an even higher priority.

Any other comment?

The project was mainly aimed at re-configuring housing commissioning to facilitate a new way of living that could be applied to both new and existing housing. The pilot schemes that result from this process are still in development and have not yet been completed.