The prefab market is getting interesting. Architects are displaying a great deal more creativity and sense of adventure, whether spurred by a desire to help refugees, solve a housing crisis or offer viable alternatives for individuals who prefer not to be rooted in one spot. Kit homes save you all the time and hassle of construction. Just pick your land and move right in.
As you would know, the magic of a prefabricated home lies in the factory. Components are manufactured in a controlled environment and then shipped to the building site, where they are assembled like a gigantic puzzle. There’s a lot to benefit from a prefab – you minimise waste, time and strength of dealing with people (read: unreliable construction workers). Furthermore, factory assembly does not mean inferior quality. Modular construction is in fact built to meet or exceed site-built construction, so it’s a win-win for everybody.
Snøhetta, the architecture firm that plans to build a restaurant partially submerged in the sea south of Norway, has unveiled a prefabricated cabin. Made for Rindalshytter, a producer of leisure homes, the cabin can be plonked anywhere, whatever the terrain, for a price of USD175,000.
Its shape references its namesake. A Gapahuk is a structure built for hikers to take shelter in during storms. The 100m2 cabin has a sloped roof, which protects dwellers from strong wind, as well as opens up to the views and sunshine. It also has three bedrooms, a spacious living room and a kitchen, where meals can be prepared over a black, wood-burning stove.
IKEA’s Better Shelter
IKEA wants to live up to its ethos as a living solutions provider. What better way than to create viable emergency homes for the geographically displaced. Offering shelter and relief to refugees is IKEA’s Better Shelter. It meets all the needs of a basic home – privacy, shelter and security – and can be assembled in only four hours. Light is provided from a solar-powered lamp. As humble as it may be, the flat-pack modular home will protect its inhabitants from rain, snow and wind, offers a sense of peace, identity and for good measure, dignity, to those who sorely need them.
The Shed is a new modular living concept to provide low-cost housing in high-rent locations. Similar to IKEA’s Better Shelter, the project by Studio Bark and Lowe Guardians could well alleviate the refugee crisis as well as homelessness. A self-contained micro-home such as the Shed is especially vital in cities like London and New York, where the housing crisis is real.
Constructed from affordable, low-impact materials, the Shed provides a safe, sustainable and well-insulated alternative to anyone seeking short-term accommodation. All you need is £5,500, a mallet and a drill and you can assemble it in a day.
Snabba Hus Västberga
Designed by Swedish architect Andreas Martin-Löf, this project aims to help folks achieve sophistication on a modest budget. To make rent affordable to young people in Stockholm, cost is kept on the low with prefabricated and standardised materials. All 280 apartments feature generously glazed surfaces, corridors that wrap around and tucked behind alternating translucent polycarbonate panels, and double-layered facades are treated with a chequerboard pattern of painted and raw concrete. A sense of community is cultivated through a shared courtyard, laundromat and studio, and if you want to relocate the entire estate, that’s possible too. How cool is that?
Want to lead a nomadic life without getting too homesick? £150,000 will get you the Koda, a stylish 25m2 hut that can follow you wherever you go. Featuring a bed for two, shower, closet, kitchen and living room, it can be assembled in 10 hours and disassembled in four. Its founders, Kodasema, sees it as affordable temporary housing, but we think that it’s a lot more than that.