Technical Study: Beaconsfield Mews cohousing, London, by Stolon Studio

015-BeaconsfieldMews©StolonStudio-07

Architect-developers Robert and Jessica Barker tell Elizabeth Hopkirk how they are turning community-building on backland sites into a business model

While they were planning their wedding, architects Robert and Jessica Barker were also designing their house. In fact it was a small cohousing scheme because, as Jessica told the planners: “Two’s company, three’s a community,” and they liked the idea of that.

As they finalised the seating plan and flowers they were also working round the clock detailing the homes on an infill site in Forest Hill, south-east London.

“I look back with amazement,” says Robert. “Two weeks before we got married the contractor demolished the building we were living in.”

Not all relationships would have survived the stress of such an ambitious project but the Barkers discovered a taste for developing as well as designing and set up two new businesses on the back of it – architect Stolon Studio and developer House of Tuesday – to create micro communities on neglected plots.

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