Modular homes – creating a happier, healthier society Home of 2030 by HLM Architects

Last year, HLM’s entry into the Home of 2030 competition was shortlisted as one of six finalists in the task to design future homes that are good for the planet as well as the people who live in them.

The Home of 2030 competition is a cross-Government initiative, bringing together multiple departments with Homes England, who may further develop the winning concept.

Design Approach

The ‘Forever Home’ concept, focuses on the benefits of utilising Modern Methods of Construction (MMC) in providing homes that are adaptable in accordance with the occupants’ life stages. The concept adopts a universal modular platform using interchangeable parts to prove that homes can easily change in size and layout according to what the homeowner’s needs are, without high financial or environmental costs. House buyers can select varied components from multiple companies within the ‘platform ecosystem’, empowering them to build, maintain, reconfigure, upgrade, or shrink their ‘forever home’.

The universal approach facilitates an after-care market that can reuse, refresh, and refurbish used components, providing not only increased choice and new revenue streams, but also enabling a zero carbon, circular economy.

All elements of the forever home are independent and enable all building components, from cladding to fixtures, to be assembled and disassembled onsite, without producing waste. A drag-and-drop digital interface allows home buyers to select their desired components, and brings ‘build-your-own’ to life.

The concept is based around a structured masterplan, broken down into standardised plots for each household. Each masterplan’s design would be bespoke to the locality of the site, and reflect regional variations and site characteristics. Within each plot, the basic structure of the homes would be based around several standardised typologies, for instance starter, family, and co-living homes, with space for extending. For example, first-time buyers could purchase a plot complete with their own design of starter home, and develop the plot throughout their lifetime to become a family or co-living home. Should they have a family later in life to accommodate that ultimately leave when older, the house could again be adapted to reflect their need for space changing.

From a planning perspective, each of the plots will be planned within the masterplan to their maximum size (for example 3 -bedroom dwelling). This will enable the planning authorities to ensure that issues such as availability of natural light, noise and wellbeing are integrated from the outset into the overall solution. Conditions for upsizing and downsizing a property will be set out in an owner’s manual which they will receive from the moment they purchase a plot of land which will come with effective planning permission granted for the fullest upscale. This will practically remove all consultation processes and complaints procedures from the process of upscaling and downscaling – once the overall masterplan has been approved by the local planning authorities. This is a crucial and unique principle that will enable the development to “breathe”, expanding and contracting with the needs of the community instead of falling into what could be restrictive and bureaucratic cycles.

By both reducing the need to move, and empowering the homeowner to adapt their home to suit their needs more economically (financially, sustainably and emotionally), money previously spent moving can instead be channelled into upgrading or adapting their home, either through increasing its size or its performance such as PVs or on wellbeing such as education, financial stability through savings or pensions or simply quality of life.

This competition demonstrates the best of British design being brought to bear on a key issue for today, and future generations: delivering homes that are good for the planet and that promote healthy, independent living for older generations.”

Housing Minister, Rt Hon Christopher Pincher MP

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