Wimshurst Pelleriti completes a prototype compact home for offsite production
‘LaunchPod’, a prototype modular housing unit designed by Wimshurst Pelleriti for London-based housing company RHP, is the first home to be produced and delivered by Legal & General’s vast offsite production facility in Leeds, which at full capacity will be able to produce 3,500 homes per year.
Constructed from cross-laminated timber, the stackable 26-square-metre apartments are aimed at the intermediate rental sector, with rents set at around 80 per cent of the cost of similar-sized properties in same area. Typical occupants are expected to be working young adults who don’t qualify for social housing but can only afford shared accommodation in the private rented sector. “LaunchPod does not seek to challenge the GLA’s Space Standards”, says the architect. “It provides an alternative product to those that otherwise have no possibility of living on their own”.
Wimshurst Pelleriti’s design intention was to ensure that the compact units do not feel small, to which end they have high ceilings, dedicated bedrooms and bathrooms, distinct areas for cooking, eating and relaxing, and sufficient space for overnight guests. Space-saving, maintenance-heavy ‘gimmicks’ such as fold-down beds were avoided at the client’s request, says the architect.
The modules have initially been designed in three different configurations – two single-storey units and one roof-level unit with a mezzanine. They can be combined in various ways to suit differing sites, with cladding that responds to the context. RHP is currently in pre-application discussions for two schemes in south London – one a low-rise development of around 30 flats, and the other a building of up to seven storeys. “In the future it is anticipated that additional unit shapes and sizes will be designed to meet the needs of awkward plots of undeveloped land”, says the architect.