London council and top architect reinvent prefab to meet housing need

Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners design for Lewisham council

London’s Lewisham Council and architect Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners are reinventing the prefab in an effort to tackle housing need and take people out of short-term bed and breakfast accommodation. The council is responding to ongoing high demand for housing by exploring a short term option to put homes on a former leisure centure site and others pending redevelopment.

Like the prefab homes built in the UK after the Second World War to meet the desperate need for housing, the modern homes are set to be constructed using off-site manufacturing methods. The design relies on volumetric technology and the finished structure is fully demountable, so could be used over a number of years and in different locations.

Plans are in the final development stages, with the temporary scheme set to be procured for a maximum budget of £4,300,000 and be on site for up to four years. First homes could be complete late summer, providing 24 homes for local people in housing need, as well as eight ground-floor non-residential units for community or business use. All units exceed the current space standard requirements by 10%.

Ivan Harbour, partner at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said: “By delivering well-designed, flexible and sustainable accommodation using a quick and cost-effective volumetric technology, we hope to change the way we think about house building in the future.”

Sir Steve Bullock, mayor of Lewisham, said, “This scheme may offer a solution to an all too common problem that plagues many development sites, which often sit unused while complex regeneration plans are put together. When we have thousands of people on our housing waiting list and are paying out for expensive bed and breakfast stays that is a terrible waste.”

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