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MacEwen longlist: Y:Cube

Plug and play homes for young people

Rogers Stirk Harbour and Partners for YMCA London South West

Location: Woodstock Way/Clay Avenue, Mitcham

Y:Cube is 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. Using volumetric technology and offsite manufacture Y:Cube provides a bespoke solution for single people and couples in housing need.

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 surpass Level 4 in the Code 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.

The first Y:Cube development opened in September 2015 in Mitcham. It is made up of 36-units. 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.

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


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