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Anna Lisa Mcsweeney

MA work

Spatialisation of Social Security

Our changing understanding of 'the home' is making it easier for the processes of hyper capitalism to transform the city into a place where the residential use class rules; apartments act as safety deposit boxes, and everything else is pushed out. The problem is not the decreasing size of the domestic dwelling, but its size within the context of residential sprawl subsuming the city. 

This project is an experiment in how observed trends in profit lead development may be turned around, and how their spatial consequences may become socially beneficial when such development is approached with a different ideology. Drawing upon archetypes from the Soviet Union, which used condensed dwelling as a tool for universal social welfare, the project determines the need for a stronger architectural language and change of legislation in order to embed social programme within residential development.

The proposal is an eight building scheme that spans three plots within the Nine Elms opportunity area in the borough of Wandsworth; a place where huge contributions are being given to the Local Authority as required of planning. A speculative s106 agreement is created that exempts the developer from any financial obligations, but in return demands the on site provision of all proportional community infrastructure within the bounds of the site. Each building becomes a residential club characterised by the different categories of infrastructure. 

Whats more, in recognition of the long term costs of development, Wandsworth council offers a grant to encourage the total autonomy of the scheme; in terms of its management, maintenance, and the welfare of its residential community. 

For this, a new use-class and design code guides the provision of space of a high use-value; defined here by the reduction in cost of welfare payments from the state to the individual, through their use of that space. The project can be seen as a move towards the spatialisation of social security, taking a more creative approach to the viability spreadsheet in order to highlight the long term financial benefit of prioritising use value over exchange value in development today.


  • MA Degree


    School of Architecture


    MA Architecture, 2016



  • Degrees

  • BSc Architecture, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
  • Experience

  • Kingsmill Project, Eliksem with Holistic Architecture, 2012; Architectural assistant, Divercity Architects, 2013–14; Public Works