Architects shedkm are looking to kickstart an industrial revolution in housing by rethinking the home as a mass-produced structure.
Together with regeneration company Urban Splash, the firm has developed a set of adaptable, prefab timber pods in Manchester’s canalside New Islington area. Homes in the project – dubbed ‘hoUSe’ – are energy efficient and cheaper than city centre flats.
‘We wanted to move away from the building site mentality to a more sophisticated way of mass production,’ said Ian Killick, director at shedkm. ‘Other industries have been doing it but construction has never made that jump.’
The adaptable, prefab concept allows owners to choose their interior layout, including the option of ‘upside down living’, where communal living areas are at the top of the property while bedrooms are at the bottom.
Each home can be two or three storeys high and its interiors can be tailored to form anything from open-plan, one-bedroom abodes to more traditional, five-bedroom houses.
Urban Splash and shedkm will now roll out the hoUSe project to other parts of the country and are hoping to reduce total construction time – from production of the timber pods to assembly on site – down to five weeks.
According to Building magazine, Urban Splash wants to deliver 1,000 of its prefab homes a year.