The Y-Cube, a £30,000 factory-built 26 square meter flat which can be easily transported and craned into place, has been prototyped and successfully tested in the UK. The YMCA asked Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners to create the Y-Cube, an affordable alternative for residents moving on from the non-profit’s hostels. And now, the YMCA wants more of these one-bedroom dwellings.
“The beauty is that the units can be moved off site as quickly as they are installed,” says Andy Redfearn of the YMCA, “as we operate on short-term leases – we expect people to stay [in the Y-Cube] for between three to five years, giving them time to skill up and save for a deposit.”
The red oblong box, which has already been nicknamed ‘the Monopoly hotel,’ takes eight weeks to build in the factory and one week to install on site. Rented out at £140 per week, the YMCA projects the project will pay for itself in 15 years and guarantee a 5% return to speculating “social investors.”
The prototype, tested this February, achieved the highest rating (Level 6) of the code for sustainable homes in the UK, prompting the YMCA to order 36 more units for a large-scale test site in Mitcham. The units will be stacked three-high and arranged in a horse-shoe configuration around a small garden. A second 36-unit scheme received planning permission this week for the Leather Gardens estate in Newham.
“The next step is to find a bigger scheme. If we can get the demand right – something like 150-plus units per year – the aim would have a factory in the borough itself, employing local people at the heart of the community,” says Ivan Harbour, the RSH+P partner in charge of the project.