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Rogers unveils pre-fab YMCA housing prototype

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[FIRST LOOK] Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) has revealed the prototype for a new modular housing scheme developed for the YMCA

The modular, self-contained starter home for young people is expected to cost less than £50,000 per unit to put up.

The Y:Cube, designed to be used by the YMCA, is a 26m² one-bedroom studio containing a bathroom, bedroom and open plan living space.

The prefabricated timber system, has been developed from the practice’s pioneering modular housing at Oxley Woods, and is constructed in a factory before being brought to site.

The practice is currently working on proposals for the system to be used at a YMCA-owned plot in Mitcham, south west London, which is expected to begin on site later this year.

Containing 36-units the Mitcham scheme is arranged around a central courtyard, and the upper levels of flats are accessed by a timber walkway.

The modules for the development in Mitcham will be produced at a factory in Derbyshire, but RSHP hopes that in the future factories will be set up in London boroughs to support local projects.

Ivan Harbour, partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners, said: ‘It is low-tech, high-tech. The factories are low cost to set up and the system is simple to produce. The building of 150 units per year could support one factory.

‘We envisage that in the future a warehouse-style factory could be built on each site to produce the units. Once the modules have been completed the factory could be turned into a community centre.’

Commenting on the cost and efficiency of the system, which can be designed, built and constructed within a month, Harbour added: ‘Cost effectiveness is not about materials. It is about the cost and efficiency of construction. The faster you can build it the more cost effective it is.’

Richard Blakeway, deputy mayor of housing, commented: ‘We have a chronic problem with a lack of affordable move-on accommodation for young people. This is an incredibly cost effective response. It has fantastic potential to be used on vacant lots and infill sites across London.’

The YMCA is also planning to use the system for the £30 million redevelopment of their site in Wimbledon. The 6,000m² scheme is set to go in for planning later this year.

Rogers Y Cube

Project data

Location Wimbledon (prototype), Mitcham (36-unit scheme)
Type of project transitional housing
Client YMCA
Architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners
Landscape architect Landform
Services engineer PBA
Manufacturer Insulshell
Gross internal floor area 26m² (individual unit)
Site area 1,640m²
Total cost £1.6 million (for a 36-unit development)
Environmental targets Code for Sustainable Homes Level 6

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