Housebuilding has rebounded since the end of the financial crisis; but to meet the challenge of drastically increasing the size and quality of our housing stock we will have to go further still.
The Housing and Planning Bill making its way through parliament has the clear ambition of increasing the supply of homes in our country. However to meet rising demand, and the government’s necessarily ambitious housing targets, we are going to have to be even more radical.
Step forward Rogers, Stirk, Harbour + Partners, the architectural firm behind Terminal 5, the Millennium Dome and London’s iconic new ‘Cheesegrater’. The firm has been quietly helping to bring about a revolution in affordable housebuilding by pioneering factory-made, pre-fabricated housing units that are fit for the 21st century. Their Y: Cube project in Mitcham, South London is a shining example of why off-site manufactured, modular units – which can be built and assembled in as little as two weeks – could be an exciting concept for the future.
Within 12 months of planning being submitted, each of Y: Cube’s 36 studio flats had tenants living in them – close to a third of the time this would have taken with a traditional build. What’s more, with a construction cost per unit of under £30,000, the local authority is able to now rent them to people on their housing list for just £150 per week or 65% of the local market rate – boosting the supply of genuinely affordable housing and harnessing an energy efficient, zero-waste technology that keeps bills down at less than £10 per week.