BREMEN – The global demand for affordable housing can barely keep up with the rising population and Germany is no exception. The number of new homes being built in the country is set to reach an all-time high this year but it will still not be enough, with an 83-million-strong population resulting in an estimated shortage of up to 1 million homes. Desperate times call for change and Berlin-based architecture and urban design studio LIN has devised a potential solution with a fully-prefabricated prototype called the Bremer Cube – a pilot project that will attempt to ease the pressure on the social housing market.
The premise is innately simple: modular timber-framed units are constructed off-site, craned into position and assembled within 28 days (one week per floor). Each four-storey building has a footprint of 180 sq-m and can cater for up to eleven apartments, which range from single-occupancy one-bed flats to six-person family-style accommodation.
With 22 layouts to choose from, the overall result is far from monotonous – like asking eleven people to each choose one flavour of frozen yoghurt from a choice of 22 and then trying to neatly arrange them inside a medium-sized Tupperware container. The system creates over 60 variations.
The Bremer Cube will be tested in seven locations around Bremen – three of which have already been erected in the south of the city (two in October 2016 and one in January 2017) and have people living in them. The adaptable nature of the proposal allows for flexibility with circulation, apartment surface area and site-specific considerations. Ultimately, the project’s success in relation to the housing market is yet to be determined but with the next four buildings – the ‘second generation’ – of cubes already in the planning, there is no limit on how many more units can be assembled and every possibility that more will follow.