Fab Lab FINAL.jpg

zoom apart co-living

otis sloan brittain + hannah wood


🏆 international invited competition second place winner


the community forum includes a ‘fabLab’ maker space, co-work areas and a cafe

Community Forum Visual FINAL.jpg
Kitchen Visual FINAL.jpg
Apartment Visual FINAL.jpg

example of a type a apartment

Levels of separation concept: public to private

view of a co-living room, shared between 3-8 apartments

view of the central co-living community space


"A home for everyone in St Petersburg”

Our vision

Creating a thriving and welcoming community where everyone feels at home is at the centre of our design ambition for Zoom Apart Co-Living in St Petersburg. We believe that the key to the success of the project is to learn from the latest research on what makes a successful co- living community, both in terms of architectural design and social cohesion. Our team of architects can offer unique expertise from both our prior research on co-living and knowledge from working on housing projects around the world. While this proposal is primarily to develop a concept design for the client, we are also interested to further our collaboration in the future to develop technical drawings for construction.

Unique design

We propose that every floor of the building includes a ‘community forum’ of shared facilities, which frees up the lower floors of the building to also be used for co-living. While many co-living designs are for the most part aimed at younger generations, we propose that for a successful community to develop, this scope should be broadened to include other demographic groups, such as the young-old, working professionals, young families and recent divorcees, among others. For a co-living community to thrive, levels of privacy are essential and it is understood that communities work best with 4-10 residents. We therefore propose four distinct zones in our proposal—the shared community forum; a series of co-living rooms serving 3-8 apartments depending upon occupancy; three distinct types of apartments; and private spaces. We propose that the co-living spaces are delivered furnished and that residents have the option to furnish their own apartments, as research shows this can encourage residents to stay longer in a co-living development. We offer spaces for community creative growth, events and shared activities.


The community forum

The community forum is shared by all co-residents and is the social heart of each floor. It connects the circulation spaces with the co-living rooms across the different wings of the building. Suggested facilities for this area include a FabLab maker space; shared laundry; cafe; co-work spaces (due to the changing nature of work); a play area for children and a ‘park’ gym; among other options. We imagine that this space will add significant value to the project and encourage residents to stay long term. We recommend that these functions are finalised in a ‘future resident focus group’, so that the development offers activities tailored to the specific needs of the community they serve. The design of the community forum, with its varying levels of transparency (such as storage walls, curtains and varying textures) is flexible so as to host one- off events, such as live music, lectures and shared meals to bring the co-residents together. This adaptability also enables the community forum to be re-imagined for future uses into the 2020s and beyond.

Co-living rooms

Our design team proposes to include ‘co-living rooms’—an innovation in co-living. This idea draws from the latest research in co-living, which suggests that people feel most at home in smaller communities, especially when it comes to activities such as cooking, eating and relaxing. Each co-living room has its own kitchen and lounge space. Sliding doors separate the individual co-living rooms from the community forum.

The apartments

Every resident who chooses to co-live is unique: so are the apartments. Each apartment is accessed through their local co-living room, which ensures privacy and provides an additional level of security. Entry to each apartment is through a threshold which ensures nobody feels overlooked when stepping through their front door. All apartments are furnished with an en-suite, living area, coffee table and storage spaces. Residents can then select optional extras, such as a personal kitchenette, sofa / sitting area and/or desk set up depending upon their requirements. As our design team anticipates a broader interest across a range of demographic groups, we propose to offer three apartment sizes. Size 1, of around 15-20m2, is the ‘starter’ apartment and features a joined bedroom and living space with separate en-suite aimed at students and single professionals. Size 2 is around 20-25m2 in size and offers a separate bedroom, aimed at couples of any age; and Size 3, of around 25-35m2, is aimed at families and includes two separate bedrooms. We propose that the development also provides disabled friendly apartments with features for

blind and deaf residents. The concept behind the different apartment offerings is to tailor apartments to residents at different stages of life with varying budget requirements. The concept plan illustrates how the working area could fit 11 Type 1 apartments, 8 Type 2 apartments and 7 Type 3 apartments.


The latest research in co-living also suggests that a key reason behind the failure of many co-living projects is that the shared spaces are not well maintained. We therefore propose an apartment for a live-in janitor, who is tasked with maintaining and cleaning all shared spaces as well as providing ongoing maintenance works in the apartments.

"Affordable living in the heart of the city"