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Adjaye and Carl Turner to design ‘outstanding’ prefabs for new housebuilder

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Adjaye Associates and Carl Turner Architects are among leading practices assembled by a new property start-up to design a series of modular homes as part of a bid to ‘disrupt the housing market’

Skene Catling de la Peña and designer Faye Toogood have also signed up to the project to design houses that will slot into small and ‘awkward’ urban sites, ranging from rooftops to gardens.

Cube Haus has been set up by entrepreneurs Paul Tully and Philip Bueno de Mesquita. The company says the homes will either be available to buy as an ‘off-the-peg’ solution for self-builders or commissioned and installed on sites acquired by the company.

Buyers will be able to choose from four designs. Adjaye Associates, which designed Bueno de Mesquita’s own home The Lost House, has designed a timber-clad two-storey structure for the project.

Carl Turner has created two homes, a bungalow with bright skylights built around a courtyard and a larger house clad in brick and timber.

Skene Catling de la Peña, which designed the RIBA House of the Year in 2015, has designed a home that revolves around a central stove; while Faye Toogood’s cabin-style house has a pitched roof and timber interiors.

The homes will be made in factories in the UK with the frames of the buildings made from cross-laminated timber and clad in sustainable materials.

Tully said he looked around London and saw there could be a way of putting great new buildings in ‘awkward urban spaces’ around the city.

‘We are able to work at lower margins than the big housebuilders, due to our nimble approach,’ he said. ‘Importantly, we work with architects we respect so that we can focus on the craft of making and building great looking, sustainable homes with an approach that is at once ethical and groundbreaking.’

Cube Haus will be working with sister company Land Converter, set up by Tully and Bueno de Mesquita in 2017, which specialises in developing ‘unwanted or neglected spaces’ in the UK, starting from parcels approximately the size of a double garage.

Once the architect-designed homes are installed they will then be marketed through estate agent The Modern House.

With price tags of around £700,000-£800,000, the modular homes are unlikely to be affordable to first-time buyers, but are aimed at those who might not normally choose to use an architect.

Bueno de Mesquita said the start-up aimed to challenge housing development in London, which he said had seen great ideas stymied because of how land has been made available and developed.

‘We want to give Londoners the best of modern British design and manufacturing,’ he added. ‘We’ve seen how some of our most creative designers have put their brainpower into trying to solve London’s housing issues.

‘The aim is to build up a portfolio of building types that ultimately can be scaled up for sites that can accommodate a bigger number of units. That’s when it starts to get really interesting; affordable housing designed by some of the most exciting names working in architecture today.’

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Readers' comments (2)

  • I wonder if TfL can see their way to co-operating on this, or whether their own initiative - announced last year but seemingly not having borne much fruit yet - precludes them from releasing their grip on any or all of those hundreds (maybe even thousands) of 'left over' bits of land that are of no conceivable strategic use in the future development of the surface sections of their rail system?

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  • CLT. Oh Dear! The architectural wheeze of the century. problems down the road.

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