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London mayor to invest £500k in OMMX's 'naked' homes

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Mayor of London Sadiq Khan has awarded a £500,000 grant to help build 22 homes by OMMX Architects, made affordable through their basic design

The two-storey homes will be built on three constrained sites in Enfield, north-east London, using a no-frills approach: open plan, no partitions and a minimal number of appliances and fittings.

OMMX won the job following a competition earlier this year, ahead of dRMM, Pitman Tozer Architects, Matheson Whiteley and Practice Architecture. 

The project is backed by not-for-profit developer Naked House, which described them as ‘well-designed shells’ that will provide a ‘base layer’ for occupants to adapt and built upon. 

They will be sold to first-time buyers earning less than £90,000 per year.

The mixture of flats and homes is yet to be decided, as are the final designs. However, early images for the first site show a 50m² house with a bathroom, kitchen, private garden, double-height living area and double bedroom on a mezzanine level.

Occupants could also insert a floor to the double-height living area, using an exposed concrete ledge inside, as well as extending the house at the rear, to create a 87m² home. 

The minimal design means they will be cheaper to build than standard homes, and will sell in the region of between £150,000 and £340,000. The average home in London costs £580,000.

OMMX directors Jon Lopez and Hikaru Nissanke said: ‘Naked House expands upon the common rear extension and loft conversion as an existing framework that people understand and feel comfortable with.’

’It provides a very affordable entry level shell, which is generously proportioned and loaded with potential. The hard work is done by the contractor, and provides the resident with a blank canvas to tailor into their ideal home.’

The cost will be reduced further by the council retaining the sites’ freeholds, meaning buyers will not have to pay for the land in the purchase price. Instead, the buyers will pay a monthly ground rent to the council. 

Simon Chouffot, co-founder of Naked House, said the homes would be ‘100 per cent affordable for those on modest incomes, with local residents given priority’.

He added: ‘We want to put people back at the centre of house-building; creating well-designed but pared-back homes that residents can adapt and change to suit their needs.

‘Support from the Greater London Authority (GLA) has been crucial, ensuring homes are genuinely affordable for those currently priced out of the communities in which they’ve put down roots. We hope this project is the first step towards a new type of housing that will help thousands of Londoners.’

Naked House is the first community-led housing group to receive funding from City Hall. 

Khan’s support comes after he announced, earlier this week, that he would spend £250,000 to set up a Homes for Londoners Community Housing Hub, which will act as a ‘one-stop shop’ to help Londoners get involved in affordable community-led housing. The hub will offer support including technical expertise and access to funding.

‘Community-led housing offers the chance to build new homes Londoners that want to live in,’ Khan said. ‘Londoners should be able to play a leading role in building their own communities, but for too long this has been difficult and they have had no support or access to funding.’

The mayor’s  £500,000 grant for the 22 homes will subsidise the building costs. Naked House told the AJ that the remainder of the building costs would be funded by a mixture of commercial and social lenders.

Plans for the homes are expected to be submitted at the end of 2018, or early 2019. If approved, work is expected to start on site in 2019, with a completion date scheduled for early 2020.

If the housing model is succesful, Naked House hopes to deliver homes across a further seven sites in the capital. 

Ommx naked house 05

Ommx naked house 05

Source: OMMX

Model of a ‘naked’ house by OMMX

Architect’s view 

Across Site 1 there are a total of five terraced houses and two apartments. Each dwelling is loaded with potential, and constructed from robust, cheap, DIY and Design-and-Build friendly materials. In their naked state, the houses are completely open plan and fitted with a minimal number of appliances and fittings. The living room is double height, with a generous mezzanine level for a bed. The bathroom is in the centre of the plan, with the kitchen to the rear, looking on to a private garden.

Both apartments are located at the end of the development and share a similar layout. The ground-floor flat is accessed directly from the mews, whilst the first-floor apartment is accessed via a roof terrace. The living and bedroom spaces are on either side of the services core and are interchangeable.

The houses anticipate and encourage future adaptation. When excavating the site by half a storey, a new concrete slab and foundations have been cast throughout, including under the gardens and new retaining wall. The gardens themselves have been sized to fulfil the criteria for a generously proportioned interior room, as specified by the London Housing Design Guide. Should residents want a rear extension they need only insulate the walls and construct a new roof that will sit atop the retaining wall.Similarly, an exposed concrete ledge in the interior, means that residents can easily infill the double-height living space with proprietary products to create more usable floor area.

A concealed perimeter channel with a ply cover plate is cast into the floor slabs at ground level to run services. This means that the services can easily be maintained and reconfigured should the residents decide to relocate or add rooms. The ground-floor flat can extend into its own rear garden; the first-floor flat on to the roof terrace.

All the dwellings have been designed for both naked and fully adapted states to ensure that they work equally well. They are all dual aspect, well lit, well ventilated and spacious. They all comply with or exceed the London Housing Design Guide, notably in relation to minimum room dimensions and lifetime. Furthermore, because the houses are only two storeys tall, they do not need partition walls or enclosed lobbies and can be fully open plan, further reducing build costs.

In their naked state, the houses represent a generous and financially accessible 50m² open-plan dwelling. In their fully adapted state, each house can achieve 87m², a three-bed, four-person, two-storey home, according to, and compliant with, the London Housing Design Guide.

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Readers' comments (3)

  • It'll be very interesting to see how fast people start to develop their homes, and how fast housing organisations - and hopefully the private sector (if current leasehold abuses can be stopped) - take up the ideas.

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  • I like these, but they don't look like they'll be 'affordable'..

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  • Hal-Luke Savas

    as long as houses are not built like we build cars they will never be less than £100,000 a piece, infact 61m2=£41k is a formulae we should chase, NAKED OR NOT NAKED

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