In London, the «Naked House» project builds and sells small homes of 50m², with no frills and at cost price. An anti-crisis solution that is having a great success.
In cities, the pressure is such that prices are skyrocketing and penalising young households and the middle classes. In London, where the property bubble has been threatening to burst for years, the average price of a home has reached….690,000 €. Which makes property inaccessible for most of its inhabitants, whose average annual salary is 40,000 €. To fight against the housing crisis, Sadiq Khan, mayor of London, has come up with a novel solution: “Naked Houses”. Homes delivered with the walls, basic plumbing and the chance to move their features at will, in order to “customise” the space as required.
For a floor area of approximately 50 m², the dwelling consists of a large living room with open kitchen, a double room on the mezzanine, a bathroom and a small private garden. The rest of the house? Free for the residents to fit out as they like and according to their budget. With one advantage: a large under-ceiling height that enables the inhabitable floor area to be increased up to 87 m².
“People want to personalise their interiors. By supplying them with what is strictly necessary, we make property affordable for people who are going to do their own DIY“, maintains Simon Chouffot, one of the founders of Naked House, in The Guardian newspaper. A basic way of looking at architecture, which can also be found in creations like the “Furniture house”, by the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban, where furniture becomes the very structure of the walls and of the house.
The social “casco”
The 22 prototypes, assigned to the architectural firm OMMX, will be in Enfield, in the north London suburbs, with prices between 180,000 and 415,000 €. They will be ready in 2020, in a modern hybrid version, somewhere between a stripped-down cottage and an urban loft. This new deal is part of Sadiq Khan’s desire to develop “community-led housings”: real-estate projects managed by supportive land agencies, which consider the land to be a common asset to be preserved, particularly from speculation. As the City Council has committed to paying the land acquisition costs – in the form of an annual tax –, the housing is less expensive. A supportive solution which, if it passes the test, may be replicated in other European capitals…