At a time when housing shortages and a top-heavy real estate market conspire to make the dream of homeownership seem out of reach for so many, prefabricated housing has become an increasingly trendy solution. And while some believe planning prefab structures can be done algorithmically, a few of the U.K.’s sharpest architectural minds are now lending their talents to the modular housing boom as well.
The mission of property-development start-up Cube Haus is to shake up the housing market by putting prefabs on small, awkwardly shaped lots. To do that, they’re working with Land Converter to identify these parcels of space and offering housing designs from architectural luminaries like David Adjaye, Faye Toogood, Carl Turner Architects, and Skene Catling de la Peña to occupy them.
A rendering of David Adjaye’s design.
Photo: Courtesy of Cube Haus
Each designer has developed a modular prototype of 500 square feet or more that can be structurally flexible enough to navigate the unique challenges that come from building on small plots like gardens and building roofs. Adjaye’s, for example, drew inspiration from his Sunken House in Hackney, while Skene Catling de la Peña built outward from a central terra-cotta core that plays a multifunctional role in everything from heating to cooking.
Though the approaches differed, the modular homes will share common structural elements and construction methods. All will largely be manufactured offsite at U.K. factories, heavily utilizing cross-laminated timber (a fact that certainly informed the interior aesthetic of these spaces) and other sustainable materials in their construction.
Skene Catling de la Peña’s design.