Houses Made of Recycled Rubbish Could Provide Prefab Homes for the Homeless

By Gerald Lynch on at

With house prices in London higher than ever and the benefits system offering increasingly meagre support for the vulnerable, many people in the capital are facing a choice between homelessness or a fight for a rare room in a shared accommodation hostel. But a new scheme from architects at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and YMCA London South West may provide a solution to the growing housing crisis.

Together, they've designed the Y:Cube. A 280 sq ft, stackable home, the studio apartments provide a single person prefabricated accommodation, made almost entirely from recycled or renewable materials.

Inside there's room for a bedroom with en-suite bathroom, and a combined kitchen and living area. Occupants will have a degree of control over the layout of each Y:Cube, with the buildings offering adjustable partition walls and room to add extra windows at a later date.

Costing £30,000 to build, rents would be set at between £125 to £175 per week, with the units having a 60 year life span. Testing has shown that the well-insulated spaces can be lit and heated day and night to 20° C for just £7 a week, keeping energy costs comparably low too.

London's Merton is hoped to be the first  to have a Y:Cube neighbourhood built, providing 36 homes by the end of 2014. [Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, YMCA LSW via Guardian]