Innovation That Matters

Cutwork's PolyBloc concept is designed to be built of site and slotted into awkwardly sized spaces | Photo source Cutwork Studios

Lego-like stackable homes could help cities solve housing crises

Architecture & Design

Off-site construction reduces neighbourhood disruption and speeds installation

Spotted: France and Netherlands based Cutwork studios has prototyped the concept of PolyBlocs – modularly constructed residential sites consisting of individual PolyRooms that, when stacked, create an array of sizes and shapes. The PolyBlocs build in locale-specific biodiversity, and seek to alleviate the dearth of affordable, healthy, and adaptive construction methods and housing options in the world’s vast and growing cities.

PolyRooms are multi-functional spaces with flexible configurations that provide airy, well-lit living arrangements in the form of a studio apartment. Shaped like shipping containers, the long rectangular shapes allow for a range of door and window placements. Cutwork Studio’s design includes a bed that can be lofted during the day to reveal living space below, a table with built-in storage to make it useful for dining and working, and a compact yet comfortable bathroom.

Storage is accommodated throughout each structure, often using sliding doors to reconfigure a space for multiple uses. The roof of an individual PolyRoom can include outdoor dining and additional plants. When stacked, a PolyBloc’s collection of balconies and fully integrated irrigation systems bring a neighbourhood of nature to life. Plants for each room are chosen specifically to encourage local insect and bird habitats.

A crane can deliver a set of PolyRooms to what would otherwise be an awkwardly sized or shaped space and, within hours, a new apartment complex is in place. Off-site construction makes the building process faster, cleaner, and less disruptive for neighbours, while keeping the cost of each home more affordable.

Modularity is being used to help make a greater impact with fewer resources. Springwise has spotted a village of tiny homes providing homeless people with housing, and an indoor system that makes it easier to quarantine in shared spaces.  

Written by: Keely Khoury



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