Inside Out is an inclusive dolls' house for all children whatever their needs and abilities. One element is a concrete house with a bonsai tree and herb garden which sits outside. The second, a series of elements that are individual oak rooms, hollowed out in bright colours that can be inserted into the house. It is fun for children and encourages outdoor play and most importantly raises a critical housing issue for families with disabled children.
The Inside Out House is an inclusive doll’s house for all children whatever their needs and abilities. The house is conceived as two distinct elements. The first element is a concrete house with bonsai tree and moss garden/herb garden which sits outside. The second series of elements are individual oak rooms, hollowed out in bright colours that can be inserted into the concrete house. When it is raining outside, children can play inside building different compositions with the oak rooms. On a sunny day the children can play outside, inserting and balancing the oak rooms on/in the concrete house located in the garden.
Our architecture is well made, robust, tactile, colourful and is made of noble materials that will get better with age, our doll’s house is no exception. This is not a toy to be forgotten, it has a permanent place outside. A sculptural form that lives with the family throughout the year and offers different ways of playing, dependent on the changing seasons. Bringing up a disabled child can make it harder for parents to work, many disabled children live in low-‐income families. These families require a garden for a number of reasons including difficulty in getting to local parks, issues of safety and supervision when playing outside and the requirement for a peaceful place for the whole family to rest. In recognition of this, social landlords will allocate such families houses with gardens due to their greater need when available.
The current under provision of housing has created a crisis of availability due to increased ‘affordable’ rents, benefit cuts, the so called ‘bedroom tax’ and stagnating wages. All of these issues combined leads to more families with disabled children living in unsuitable accommodation.
Coffey Architects work is defined through an approach based around empathy and context, understanding the people we design for and understanding the place that we seek to build in. A connection to the ‘Outside’ is fundamental to our process, the ‘Outside’ to us is not just our garden, but our street, our city, our planet and beyond and how we all live together. We aim to create a delightful architecture that connects people to the places that they live, physically, climatically and psychologically.
The Inside Out House is a concentration of these thoughts, it is fun for children, a toy that encourages outdoor play and most importantly raises a critical housing issue for families with disabled children.