“Place and Belonging” is a cross-disciplinary research project, which brings together researchers from Architecture (Northumbria University) and the Social Sciences (Manchester University) . This work was supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under Grant AH/N002938/1.
This project engages architecture with key areas of public concern: home and community. Our research asks how architecture influences sense of belonging and community. This question is the basis of a unique cross-disciplinary approach that reads architecture as the result of physical and socio cultural aspects, using as a case study Claremont Court housing scheme (Edinburgh)
WHY CLAREMONT COURT? _ Claremont Court is a post-war social housing scheme designed by Basil Spence and realised between 1958 and 1962 in Edinburgh as part of the Corporation’s housing drive. It comprises of 63 dwellings of different typologies, grouped in L-shaped low-rise rectangular buildings around two landscape courtyards. The scheme aimed to offer modern homes (in response to societal change) and design for communities (thus addressing a wider socio-cultural debate). Thus, it is a relevant case study within the broader framework of Modernist housing in UK for its original social approach.
Over time and with significant societal changes and shifts in housing policy, the composition of the scheme has changed significantly since the ’60s.
AN ORIGINAL CROSS-DISPLINARY METHODOLOGY _ Our original methodology integrates research methods from architecture and social sciences. This included archival research, architectural survey, contextual mapping and visual narrative of dwellings, photo-survey and participatory workshop to investigate the communal areas, alongside sociological methods, such as biographical, walk-along and photo- elicitation interviews, and activity diaries. The integrated analysis of architectural and sociological data fostered a reflection on perspectives, behaviours and meanings of home and community attached to Claremont Court.