Self-contained micro homes are being installed inside vacant buildings across London as part of an initiative called The SHED Project, which features in the latest movie from our Dezeen x MINI Living video series.
The project sees property management company Lowe Guardians create temporary affordable housing for young professionals inside empty properties like warehouses and office blocks. By doing so, the company is also helping to keep these buildings protected from squatters, vandals and deterioration.
Company founder Tim Lowe drafted in London architecture office Studio Bark to come up with the design for the DIY housing modules as an alternative to property guardianship, where people pay very little rent to live in abandoned buildings.
He came up with the idea after witnessing the often squalid living conditions of these properties.
“The reality has always been that turning vast, open spaces into private rooms for guardians has always been both tricky and time-consuming,” said Lowe.
The SHED micro home is designed to allow easy assembly in just one day using a mallet and a drill, and can also be disassembled, transported to another location and rebuilt.
Its walls are made from Smartply, a material formed of a mix of oriented strand board and recycled polyester, and are insulated with lambs wool for warmth and soundproofing.
Lowe Guardians claims that the structures creates minimal construction waste, as they are modular and built for easy transportation.
Property guardianship has been muted as a solution to tackle Britain’s growing number of empty properties.
According to new government figures, numbers of vacant homes are at their highest level in 20 years, with Grenfell Tower borough Kensington & Chelsea home to the highest number of empty properties.
While Lowe Guardians makes clear that The SHED Project is currently aimed at young professionals and creatives who live fast-paced and transient lifestyles, they add that the design could be used in the future to provide accommodation for homeless people and refugees.
This movie is part of Dezeen x MINI Living Initiative, a year-long collaboration with MINI exploring how architecture and design can contribute to a brighter urban future through a series of videos and talks.
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