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MICRO COMPACT HOME & O2 STUDENT VILLAGE Architect: Horden Cherry Lee Architects Housebuilder: Micro Compact Home No category ignited such fierce debate as that of best innovative technology. Although the seductively cool micro compact home was an obvious winner, the judges remained intrigued by its commercial viability.

Could this innovation be economically and practically applied to volume housing? Did it fulfil a need for stylish affordable homes? Crucially, would it survive a grilling from planners?

Designed for two people, at a push, micro compact homes have a guaranteed lifespan of five years and are targeted at businesses, universities and sports organisations requiring short-term, eco-friendly accommodation.

The first colony of micro compact homes, christened the O2 student village, was craned into place last November at Munich-Freimann, Germany.

The subtle grey interior features an overhead double bed that folds upwards, giving access to the four-seat work/dining area underneath. The table can also be slid away and a second guest bed pulled from below the oor. Access is via a raised walkway, which also discreetly hides services.

This efficiently diminutive and bijou dwelling emulates the cost-effective practicality and proven durability of post-war prefabs and so-called park homes. But, as some judges stressed, volume house builders have conspicuously ignored prefabs because they remain unpopular with conservative house buyers and sceptical mortgage lenders.

The geometric simplicity of micro compact homes may prove sufficiently seductive for housebuilders to take a punt. Certainly, agreed the judges, the design represents a major leap forward in traditional prefab architecture and is an inventive and affordable alternative to brick-built accommodation.

THE GREEN BUILDING Architect: Terry Farrell & Partners Housebuilder: Bryant Homes

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