Innovation That Matters


Architect firm creates innovative housing solution


London-based architect firm designs a rooftop micro-house based around an air duct unit.

Built atop a London building, the H-VAC micro-house was designed and built as an entry to the inaugural Antepavilion international competition. The ethos behind Antepavilion was to create unique and inspiring low-cost housing ideas for London, and the H-VAC was selected as the winner from 128 entries.

The design of the H-VAC was inspired by an air duct unit, which are common on city rooftops. According to PUP Architects, the idea behind it came from the understanding that local planning laws state that mechanical rooftop equipment can be built without planning permission. Therefore, disguising a dwelling as an air duct seemed the perfect way to cheekily getting around the extremely tight London planning laws at a fraction of the price of a normal dwelling.

The two-story house has space for six people to sit comfortably, but as there’s no bathroom or kitchen, it’s clearly designed more as food for thought, rather than an actual liveable dwelling. It’s constructed from a simple wooden shell and then clad in Tetra Pak food and drink packaging – which is a surprisingly hard-wearing cladding that has obvious recyclable benefits. If you’d like to have a guided tour of the H-VAC itself then it will be open to the public on September 17 and 18 in London’s Hoxton Docks.

The enormous cost of housing is very much a problem for most of us, more so if you live in one of the major cities. Work is being done to help people find affordable accommodation though, including empty buildings in London being temporarily offered to young professionals, and the free-standing homes that can be assembled in just seven hours. Can you think of any other unique ways to help the housing market?




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