Jerene Irwin, co-ownership architect.

For Jerene, housing provides the following:

‘If we feel safe and happy it makes us happier people. Our homes are central to who we are and how we feel about everything else in our lives. Everyone should have a home that gives us our basic needs and so much more.’ 

Maslow’s hierarchy of needs show us that feeling safe and secure, (and for us feeling safe and secure at home) is a basic essential need and vital to  our wellbeing. While owning a home may not be essential, with the right purchase made, it is shown to greatly increase your psychological, financial and emotional wellbeing.

Housing is an essential part of everyones life, and owning a home is shown to have positive impacts throughout your life time, especially when the space you chose can be modified to meet your short, medium and long term housing needs.

How Jerene sees’ housing and community:

‘While our home may be our castle our immediate community outside this also defines us. A safe, welcoming and healthy environment should be a basic right, although thats’ not always the case.I could cite studies that extol the virtues of community and how it positively affects our mental health but thats not the point, we all know the way many people live now, and perhaps exacerbated by the pandemic, can be a lonely existence.It doesn’t have to be that way.’  

‘Awareness of the psychological impacts of social isolation is growing quickly, and rightly so, as loneliness greatly damages our mental health,’ Palti.

‘We are, as it is being termed, facing a ‘loneliness epidemic’ which is ironic given the pace of urbanisation and densification of our built environment.’ Loneliness Lab.

The irony of social isolation when we are increasing in sprawl and development is not lost on Jerene and I, and this is where innovative architecture and use of space becomes so impactful. Imagine building a house which can become multiple versions of a home over the space of a life time, or a property which has green space on the roof, so you can utilise every aspect of the home.

These are the aspects of design and development that can enable us to increase social connection whilst minimising further urbanisation our capital cities.

Where does co- ownership and architecture come into play:

‘Current housing options are so limiting for many of us and having alternatives that suit your life and circumstances can only be a good thing. I would love to be designing spaces that give both privacy and the ability to come together and share our lives, when, how and if we want to.  Co-ownership is one of those options and a good one. Simply put I see three very good reasons for considering it:

1- its more affordable, you need less of a deposit at the outset, you can have a bigger or nicer home if you work together and you get to do it quicker. 

2 – you have more options to start with, we all know its good to have options

3- people. Living with other people can be a fantastic experience. Whether you have just left home or  finished university or your children have left home, it doesn’t matter, being around people is good for us.

Actually maybe it’s just about one thing, having more options. We are all different and the housing market should reflect that, it currently does not but it can – co ownership or something similar gives us the opportunity to create our own path and I would encourage anyone to see if it’s the right choice for them.’ Jerene Irwin

Female architect Hannah Wood supports this, stating ‘designing for shared living presents such an exciting challenge for architects and designers because of its untapped potential to positively impact the lives of individuals, their neighbourhoods and the city at large.’ 

In the future, Jerene and I will be working on new projects that supports shared living and co-ownership to better enable individuals to have a safe, secure and community based living experience.

If you are thinking of co-owning with a stranger, partner or friend, involving an architect can mean that you build a home for now, the future and for the better so please reach out to Jerene and I for advice and information about this growing but very important topic.

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