Urban Splash to test flexible home concept

A choice of floor plan, 25% more space than the average new build and high ceilings are among the features of the ultra-flexible new homes concept to be launched by developer Urban Splash at its New Islington scheme in Manchester this autumn.

The concept, designed by architect shedKM and branded with the moniker hoUSe, comprises a range of houses to cater for Urban Splash’s young buyers as they enter middle age and settle down with their families. The developer’s reinvention of the new build housetype as “an awesome, new build, terraced house, in the city” is based around giving the customer greater flexibility. A hoUSe can:

  • comprise 1,00sq ft on two floors or 1,500sq ft on three floors
  • have living accommodation located on the ground floor, in the conventional way, or on the upper floor, loft-style
  • have an open plan layout or more traditional rooms.

In focusing on flexibility and space as key selling points Urban Splash has drawn on RIBA’s The case for space report, published in 2011, and the report, The way we live now: What people need and expect from their homes, based on follow-on research commissioned from Ipsos MORI by RIBA for the independent Future Homes Commission. But the debate in fact began earlier. Some years ago David Wilson Homes’ i-LIFE concept, for example, grew out of research with the Universities of Nottingham and Leicester, which identified consumer demand for space and light in new homes.

A generation of homebuyers, schooled by countless episodes of Grand Designs, is now acutely aware of the realities and the design possibilities of a new home. Urban Splash’s website links to a video by Grand Designs presenter Kevin McCloud to bring home the point that the average one-bedroom new build home in Britain is the same size as the carriage of a London Underground train. When the hoUSe homes go on the market in the autumn, the public will ultimately settle the space debate.

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