The ‘Modulhus’ has landed. This £50,000 pre-fabricated home won first prize at the National Self Build on a Shoestring competition back in October. These ‘plugin and play’ homes, designed by architects Barton Willmore and EcoMotive, are fully customisable from interiors to the very roof over your head. Said roofs can even be transformed into solar panels to cut heating and electricity costs. Modulhus is being hailed as an innovation in sustainability and a possible solution to the UK’s affordable housing crisis.
The competition judging panel included Kevin McCloud, a long-time supporter of these pre-fab buildings. McCloud’s show, Grand Designs, has previously featured many a ‘Huf Haus’, the luxury glass-walled predecessor to the Modulhus. This is the striking innovation of the Modulhus, a fully functional residence, built in 14 days, that won’t leave you saddled with years of mortgage repayments. What’s more, they can be slotted together to create terraced housing or even stacked to create flats. The fully customisable interiors also allow these creations to be transformed into whatever the local community requires of it; a school, offices or even a hotel.
The UK housing sector is currently far too narrow in its production of buildings, with only a few major companies producing the majority of our homes. This has led to stagnation in innovation and slow progress. Abandoning this top-down approach, and putting the power back in the hands of buyers, could breathe a new lease of life into the UK affordable housing market. Most importantly it could do brilliant things for skyrocketing house prices in and around cities like London.
Of course the issue still remains of actually finding the land to put your new swanky £50,000 home on. The Green Belt remains a protected zone, and any land closer into London is practically non-existent or extortionately priced. However, the cross-rail coming in 2018 could be set to change this. This transport link extends the commuter belt and could rejuvenate previously neglected property zones.
This innovation could also prove hugely beneficial to home seekers in the North of England, and those further West, where affordable housing shortages are hitting those who need them the most. Pre-fab could certainly be a future for these disadvantaged communities. They also could be the answer to questions raised around the recent government promise to “force” local councils to have a plan in place for affordable housing. The Modulhus could provide flexible options suited to every community, and well within their budgets.
So, are these houses the answer to our property prayers? From local councils to those in need of affordable housing, to the hopeful millennials trying to scramble onto the first rung of the property ladder, we certainly hope the Modulhus is as good as it looks. Now, all we have to do is find ourselves a nice patch of land.