A cube-shaped housing solution

Nick Myall
08 Sep 2015

YMCA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners innovative factory-built affordable housing scheme welcomes first tenants in south west London

YMCA, the world’s oldest and largest youth charity, has opened its first Y:Cube development; an off-site manufactured housing project for single people in housing need, designed by renowned architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners.

The affordable accommodation scheme, located in Clay Avenue in Mitcham, south west London, was unveiled by the Minister of State for Housing and Planning, Brandon Lewis MP.

The 36-apartment Y:Cube development is designed as move-on accommodation for people leaving homelessness hostels and supported housing schemes. The apartments are being rented out at 65% of the market rate in the area.

This saving is possible due to the off-site method of construction, which in turn led to a far quicker build programme – in this case around five months. The construction methodology and speed of installation mean each unit cost significantly less than a conventionally built equivalent.

Y:Cube has been created by YMCA London South West in partnership with architecture practice Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, project manager Aecom, and UK contractor SIG Plc Building Systems.

Richard James, Chief Executive of YMCA London South West, added: “Y:Cube presents a new way of creating genuinely affordable aspirational housing for single people in housing need. Great design and an innovative construction system have helped us in developing a housing scheme that challenges traditional housebuilding methods.”

And Ivan Harbour, Senior Partner and Lead Architect for Y:Cube at Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners, said:

“Y:Cube offers generous space and exceptional insulation, daylight and acoustics. By delivering high-quality accommodation using quick and cost-effective volumetric technology, we hope to offer a new model for house building in the future.”

The 36 Y:Cube units were all built off-site in Derbyshire before being transported to London. Construction on the three-storey site started in March and the last home was completed in August. The courtyard has been named George Williams Court, after the founder of YMCA.

YMCA hopes to roll out other similar Y:Cube schemes across London and parts of England in the near future.

Along with investment from YMCA London South West, the Y:Cube development in Mitcham was funded with a grant of £337,000 from the Mayor of London’s Building the Pipeline scheme and ‘social investments’ from City Bridge Trust, Tudor Trust, Trust for London and Esmée Fairbairn Foundation.

Deputy Mayor for Housing and Land, Richard Blakeway, said: “This innovative scheme aims to give young people the chance to rent their own home in the capital at an accessible price and is part of a range of much needed housing the Mayor has helped deliver. I hope the site we are launching today is the first of many more to come across London.

For more information on Y:Cube, visit: www.ymcalsw.org/ycube.

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Nick Myall

News Editor

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