Chic may be an overstatement and some of you may be asking if the social housing model should be updated, or whether the traditional model of bland stock standard should be continued.
There are a lot of arguments on both side of the social housing debate around reintegration objectives and the ultimate ideology of providing social housing but these are for another day/post.
Continuing our focus on social housing trends (click here and here to see some previous posts) the Herald has recently covered a West Auckland project that is being run by VisionWest Community Trust, in conjunction with Unitec, to develop low cost, compact, energy efficient homes (click here to see article). The idea evolved from the position that kiwis like the idea of a modern custom designed home, but that the houses covered in many architecture magazines often have an exorbitant cost and do not use space efficiently.
To date three prefabricated pavilions are being developed and have been designed to replicate the simplistic style of a kiwi bach. The houses are also designed to be environmentally friendly with the design aiming to generate low construction waste, use sustainable, local materials, low energy appliances, low-flow water fittings, low-toxicity finishes and make the most of passive solar design. The building are also designed to be transportable, fitting in with the latest craze in New Zealand of modular building.
The size of these houses along with the high insulation standard and low cost appliances will mean that the running cost of these units is kept to a minimum. This makes them ideal for social housing projects where, despite the reduced rent, social housing has traditionally often had high upkeep costs, counteracting their intended purpose.
While this development is the latest in the run of prefabricated, modular housing designs it will certainly not be the last with a number of kiwi companies investing in new technology and innovative design.