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Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners

25 February 2014

Y:Cube an affordable housing unit designed by RSHP

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners and SIG are working with the YMCA London South West to develop an economical and innovative housing solution, providing self-contained and affordable starter accommodation for young people unable to either gain a first step on the housing ladder or pay the high costs of private rent.

The Y:Cube units are 26m2 one-bed studios, for single occupancy, that arrive on site as self-contained units. Each unit is constructed in the factory with all the services already incorporated. Therefore, the water, heating and electricity can be easily connected to existing facilities or to other Y:Cubes already on site. This ‘plug and play’ approach results in a modular, demountable system of apartments that are perfectly designed for brownfield sites. Additional units can be added if needed and whole developments can be taken apart and rebuilt in new locations. This modern method of construction makes for a neighbourly, clean and quiet site.

Each unit is constructed from high quality, eco-efficient materials (primarily renewable timber) and can achieve Code Six for Sustainable Homes. The factory conditions in which the pods are assembled ensure tolerances of 2mm, creating accommodation that is so well insulated that they require little or no heating, even in winter months. This presents further valuable savings as the cost of energy rises.

A 36-unit Y:Cube development is planned to go on site in Mitcham later this year. Every resident is either referred by the London Borough of Merton or a previous resident of the YMCA. The Y:Cube provides an alternative to poor quality shared accommodation managed by private landlords and can offer a better solution for those in housing need within the community.

The rent is set at 65% below market rate and in addition to low energy bills the Y:Cube is genuinely affordable for those who live there. Y:Cube Housing offers a real opportunity for social investment, providing a solid return to investors whilst at the same time meeting a huge need.