A creative team from The Architecture Foundation is crowdfunding to deliver a short documentary about the Black-led self-build housing scheme.
Date: 6 July 2021
A creative team, including London Met Architecture alumnus James Thormod and Rosie Gibbs-Stevenson, Curator at The Architecture Foundation, is working to deliver a short documentary about Nubia Way, a black-led self-build housing scheme built almost 25 years ago in Lewisham.
Nubia Way is an unassuming cul-de-sac of thirteen timber-framed houses in the Downham area of Lewisham, London, built in 1997 following the principles of Walter Segal. The scheme was built by Fusions Jameen, London’s first black-led housing co-operative, who gave priority to applicants in housing need and those of African and Caribbean descent. The co-operative provided social housing for those who found themselves excluded from the housing market and other co-operatives.
Experimenting with a new economic housing model, they offered self-builders long-term discounted rents in return for building the homes. All thirteen houses remain socially rented. Nubia Way was designed with architectural consultancy from Architype, using pioneering low-carbon environmental technology, which included recycled insulation and sedum grass roofs.
Thormod, writer and Project Lead at MAP Architecture, has been researching Nubia Way and interviewing residents over the past year as part of architectural history research project at London Met, tutored by Ektoras Arkomanis.
The team are hoping to raise £5,000 to create the film through crowdfunding. They explained the importance of the film, saying, "We believe that Nubia Way has been largely overlooked in architectural discourse, especially when compared to appraisals of earlier self-built housing projects by Walter Segal, such as Walter's Way and Segal Close. As part of the Architecture Foundation's continuing commitment to decolonising architectural history, we want to commission a team of filmmakers and researchers to make a short documentary that investigates the incredible story of this street.
"Through interviews with the original self-builders, current residents, architects and economists who were involved in the scheme's construction, the film will explore the legacy of Nubia Way and examine how the act of self-building by a black-led group, otherwise excluded from secure housing, challenged existing social structures."
Working alongside Thormod and Gibbs-Stevenson on this project will be: London based filmmaker and photographer, Timi Akindele-Ajani; writer and PhD researcher in modern European history, Rochelle Malcolm; and Designing Cities: Planning and Architecture student at the University of Westminster, Maiam Aluede.
They said, "The Architecture Foundation receives no public subsidy and is overwhelmingly reliant on the support of companies and individuals who value its work. We need your help to make this project happen.
"If you would like to support us in our mission to celebrate lesser-known architectural histories and promote different voices in the discussion about the city, please consider donating to our crowdfunder. Supporters who donate £500 and over will be acknowledged with a special mention in the film."