IKEA’s SPACE10 and EFFEKT Architects propose a housing concept which responds to the escalating urban renewal phenomenon.
With rapid urbanisation and climbing population rate, the overriding concern of current times is the density vis-a-vis liveability quotient. Countries like Singapore answer this issue with interconnected high-rises while even ‘low-rise high-density’ typology has been sufficiently explored around the world. However, are these the best models to address desirability standards of liveable cities?
Factors like social relations and quality of natural environment should hold greater significance along with affordability of owning a home. Places that foster community, health and general well-being are important considerations that need to be taken in account. UN projections indicate today’s 55% of the world’s population that lives in urban areas, is expected to increase to 68% by 2050. Evidently showcasing the urgent need to rethink housing and also the means and management of it.
IKEA’s global research and design lab SPACE10 along with Copenhagen’s EFFEKT Architects through thorough research and contemplation have devised a model concept that aims to make future homes more liveable, sustainable and affordable. The goal is to address some of the pressing urban challenges like ‘rapid urbanisation, ageing populations, polarisation, climate change and lack of affordable housing.’
The Urban Village Project is a revolutionary vision that facilitates a cross-generational shared habitat to improve the quality of life. Keeping affordable, sustainable and liveable as the cornerstones for planning, The Urban Village Project, integrates sustainable measures like water harvesting, urban farming, clean energy production, and recycling and also creates tight-knit communities with shared facilities like daycare, fitness, shared transport and communal dining.
“It is clear that unless we rethink our built environment, our cities will become increasingly unsustainable, unaffordable and socially unequal. For us, shared living can offer potential solutions to some of these urgent challenges. The Urban Village Project looks at how we can create new realities that promote a sense of well-being and turn the spaces we inhabit into healthier and happier places, all while being more affordable and efficient for those that live there.” says Jamiee Williams, Architectural lead, SPACE10 .
With the Urban Village project, IKEA expands its assembly model to a larger scale. The application of modular housing system in the project ensures that the buildings can be easily flat-packed in response to shifting population needs, and can be reassembled instead of being demolished and discarded. This scalable building system not only ensures a more sustainable and CO2-reducing construction option but also is a holistic approach to the management and life cycle of our buildings. The system will not only reduce construction cost, but would allow enough freedom to the users to modify and retrofit their home. It is a thoughtfully designed system that can cater to any type of design programs which could include a single home or even a 50 storied high-rise.
“Urban Villages is based on a modular building system which allows us to configure a wide range of different housing typologies for different urban settings.
The system is designed for disassembly, unlocking a truly circular material loop where building components and materials can be reused and replaced rather than wasted. This could be a game changer for the building industry.” says Sinus Lynge, partner, EFFEKT Architects.
Urban Village Project’s standardised modular system is made out of cross-laminated timber. This layered wood product has greater compressive and tensile strength and since wood is a renewable material it has less environmental impact as well.
The digital layer designed by Norgram studio makes the community-style living more well-wired and self-sufficient. This interface would essentially empower and enable people to live more flexibly and foster a feeling of control over the home and finances while also connecting people to services and facilities. The concept also talks about introduction of new subscription-based model which would permit fair access to low income sectors.
Ikea’s Urban Village Project concept aptly addresses the looming housing crisis and holds the potential to change the way we live by providing healthier and happier homes in our neighbourhoods.
Text by Shweta Salvi
All images and illustrations:
‘Made by EFFEKT Architects