Mitigating the death of the Multi: Investigating an alternative to demolition through the vehicle of a retrofit intervention into Dundee’s Hilltown Multis.
When the Multi’s were first introduced to Dundee in the 1960’s, they were seen as a desirable place to live, synonymous with fresh air, light and modern facilities. They boasted views across the city and their compact footprint allowed for larger rooms, outdoor green space, with a focus on affordability. Sixty years on, they have deteriorated, and their reputation has mutated into undesirable low-cost housing. Resulting in the local authority turning to demolition, with only 11 of 44 multi’s remaining standing.
Following Lacations and Vassal’s motto of “Never demolish, never remove or replace, always add, transform, and reuse!”. This project and accompanied thesis, explores ‘deep retrofitting’ as a vehicle to upgrade the four existing Hilltown Multi’s, through the lens of housing inequality and climate literacy. It considers the need to diversify occupancy by providing a wider range of housing types and to accommodate a more nuanced residency associated with contemporary living, with adjustments to the organisation and layout of the blocks to improve and encourage the formation of a community and social sustainability.
The work revisits Corbusier’s principles for high-rise living and draws learning from successful estates across Britain to construct a framework in which could be used to retain and reinvent these 1960’s tower blocks into a contemporary sustainable typology – thus mitigating the further demolition of this housing model.