by / June 5, 2006

Do prefab homes have to be absolute? 100% factory built? What about hybrids of stick-built and prefab like the kind that co-labarchitects in the UK just created. They took the most onerous parts to built, kitchens and bathrooms, the parts that require many services (ie, plumbing, electrical) and ‘prefabbed’ them. Build a shell, pop in a co-Pod kitchen and bathroom and get the flexibility of stick-built and the efficiencies of pre-fab. Recently launched at Interbuild, the co-Pod won the Best off-site solution award and is currently short-listed for the Housing Design Awards. co-Pods are now being made by Elements Europe. More images and details after the jump.


A co-Pod kitchen design.


co-labarchitects' Natalia Andriotis writes; "The principal is simple,

- a contractor builds a shell with a mains service core
- a series of pods are inserted at each level and connected to the service core
- there are four pod types that together incorporate all of the elements for intelligent living, hot water storage, heating, lighting, ventilation, heat recovery, power, communication
- each of the four pods contain a combination of kitchen, bathroom, staircase and/or WC
- the pods are stacked in various combinations to make anything from studio apartments to 6 bed houses
- the pods are independent of the external envelope of the building so this can be constructed using any construction method
- using the pods means electrical and mechanical trades are not needed on site saving time and disruption
- the pods can be installed at the end of the project saving interest costs on the most expensive elements of the house
- all the house types have an identical floor plan dimension so are flexible until the pods are installed

The co-Pod was launched at Interbuild and won the Best off-site solution award category. It has received a lot of positive responses from industry experts and even other pod manufacturers, calling this new approach to housing 'revolutionary'. The co-Pod concept is designed as a way to make all mass housing affordable without compromising quality or floor area. The result is a modern housing equivalent of Georgian and Victorian mass housing. The approach brings positive benefits to client, designer, developer, planner, contractor, manufacturer, end user and local community.".

co-Pod bathroom design.


co-Pod staircase design.

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