With London’s relentless growth comes the pressing issue for more affordable housing to become avaliable. The BBC stated that we need more than 800,000 new houses in the capital by 2021, so we are seeing a greater emphasis on sustainable homes and green construction in London to meet this demand.
Namely so, is an ingenious, cohesive scheme from architects at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners in cooperation with YMCA London South West in order to mass produce low cost, silky stylish housing from recycled materials. These 280 sq ft prefab homes can be produced very rapidly and are made almost entirely from recycled or renewable materials.
Therefore they not only provide a plug to Britain’s housing crisis but potentially they can revolutionise the nature of rubbish collection in London by providing rubbish removal companies with an extraordinary new line of business. Perhaps one day soon the rubbish which the JunkWize team collect can start to be used in projects like these – it’s an exciting prospect.
With a relatively low building cost of just £30,000, the Y:Cube can be produced at a 40% lower cost than traditional construction allowing much lower rental costs, of £140 per week. Which especially when coupled with the absence of long term contracts and binding deposits, represents a fantastic new affordable life line of accommodation to some of London’s worst off. It gives those leaving Hostel accommodation a generous, affordable first step on to the property ladder as the units come complete with double beds, en suite bathrooms and a separate kitchen/living room, while floor-to-ceiling heights are a generous 2.5m, and will be taller in the top-floor flats with the apex roofs.
Not only are the Y:Cube houses affordable and somewhat resilient as semi-permanent housing but – given their 60 year expected lifespan – they are also incredibly good for the environment! Firstly, each unit is constructed from high quality, eco-efficient materials and can achieve code 6 for sustainable homes. This suggests a potential opening for London’s growing body of refuse to be collected and recycled to be used in the very houses some of its inhabitants could be living in. Secondly, they have little or no need for heating, even during winter months due to extremely effective insulation. In fact, testing has shown that the well-insulated spaces can be lit and heated day and night to 20° C for just £7 a week, thankfully keeping energy costs comparably low.
So with production costs 40% below the construction average and rent 65% below the market rate, as well as being sustainable, it would appear that everybody is a winner with the cool and effective new Y:Cube. Offering a solid return on investment (estimated at 15 years) whilst at the same time meeting the huge social need for housing and tackling the problem of rubbish removal in London. Therefore it is no surprise to see the project gaining momentum with the first development set for a brownfield site in Mitcham. Fantastic.