Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Design your life to include more money, health and happiness with less stuff, space and energy.

Park Your Life in These Repurposed Garages

A design by architectural firm Levitt Bernstein that converts unused garages on London housing developments into popup homes was the winner of the Building Trust International’s HOME competition, which sought to provide “residents most at risk in developed cities with a safe place to live.”

The Levitt Bernstein units are part of a larger project they call HAWSE (Homes through Apprenticeships With Skills for Employment). The homes provide shelter for their occupants as well as trade skills as they are involved with the assembly of the unit. The house provides low cost housing (£11/week) for a year or two before the occupant moves on to other developments and the structure is demolished. We’re not sure why they wouldn’t remain as ongoing housing, though it likely has to do the fact they’re using someone else’s property.

The units are a mere 118 sq ft and feature their own bedroom, bathroom and living/dining area. We particularly like the wall-through sink between the bathroom and kitchenette. Each fifth garage will have a communal laundry, additional kitchen equipment and a dining area.

HAWSE is meant to use under-used spaces in expensive, high density areas, in this case East London. We’ve seen other garage-cum-homes with the same mission intended for New York City, but this one seems much more thought out. The other designs, particularly the upLIFT design (below), proposed using highly used, revenue-generating parking spaces as housing for the homeless, which seems like a tough sell. Focusing on using under-used spaces like HAWSE makes a lot more sense.

Uplift-concept

There was some controversy (possibly manufactured) reported in the London Evening Standard. An architect called pop-up housing “morally bankrupt” and not addressing the causes of homelessness. We think it’s a pretty great idea and a creative way to make increasingly expensive cities accessible to diverse populations.

What do you think? Is this smart design or a bandaid on larger social and economic woes?

  • dorree1122

    This is a great idea. There are numerous buildings left empty all over the city here in Nashville, TN. Are these units self contained? Something like the pod people use to move with would be around the right size and could be moved in and out at will. Plumbing would be an issue, but not insurmountable. I like this.

    • MarieG

      The idea of the pod is very cool, but also kind of ironic since they are something that people generally use for all of their extra junk.

      MarieG LifeSImplyBalanced.com

  • MarieG

    I love the Bernstein design! These are an awesome way to combine tiny house living with a city life.

    MarieG LifeSimplyBalanced.com

  • Pingback: Keir Whitaker | Weekly Miscellany #006()

  • DeWhit

    ” a creative way to make increasingly expensive cities accessible to diverse populations. ”

    Another way for the businesses to manintain staff by housing low wage workers close by. These designs serve a basic purpose, but they resemble human zoos and creatures on display in close quarters. I do not want to share kitchen and shower and toilet space.

    The laws of nature dictate that whenever anything becomes too dense to support itself in one spot, it spreads to other space or location with resources that can support more organisms.

    When the power and the food and water can be easily moved and established, the people will follow. Culture and entertainment is created by the people and that will flourish wherever intelligent people are and is not limited to only the existing stands of the metropolis.