An innovative project to help combat London’s housing crisis has been unveiled from Lowe Guardians and Studio Bark architects. Modular SHEDs (taken from the word SHarED), which are manufactured offsite and can be installed in the space of a day, allow for self-contained living within vacant buildings such as disused warehouses or office spaces.

The SHED Project makes use of environmentally sound SMARTPLY OSB panels to create individual ‘U-Build’ modules which are insulated and soundproof and can provide a unique living space for the growing ‘property guardians’ market. These guardians tend to be young professionals, keyworkers and creatives who pay reduced rent to live in empty properties in order to keep out squatters.

The modules are designed to reduce the impact property guardians have on vacant buildings by providing an easy-to-install private living solution and reducing waste when these short-term tenants move on to new sites. Equally, however, the modules themselves are designed to be low-impact and use environmentally-friendly, sustainable materials with a reduced carbon footprint.

The OSB panels are manufactured in a fully sustainable way from FSC certified forests and are CNC’d (Computer Numeric Cutting) to help reduce wastage. Zero added formaldehyde during manufacturing ensures the panels also contribute to healthier and less toxic living conditions. Both the materials and methods of construction have thus created an environmentally-conscious solution to meet the demand for quality and affordable housing in London.

Wilf Meynell, Director at Studio Bark commented: “The SMARTPLY panels are an affordable and environmentally conscious material. Manufactured from the thinnings of fast-growing timber, the product will also sequester carbon over its lifespan, helping to reduce the effects of global warming. We were drawn to the material not only for its environmental credentials but also because of its smooth, pressed finish which can be left exposed for the interior of the modules.”

The pods give tenants a private space which they are able to take ownership of and decorate themselves. Easy to dismantle and install, the SHEDs are suited to the lives of young professionals and creatives. In light of the lifestyle challenges facing young people living in the capital today, these new pods provide a sustainable and flexible solution to accommodation.

“It’s fantastic that our sustainable products are helping to combat the lack of affordable housing for young people,” said Stuart Devoil, Head of Marketing and Brand at MEDITE SMARTPLY. “The difficulties facing young people today who are trying to make a life for themselves in the capital are immense. Lowes Guardians and Studio Bark have created a revolutionary solution that is easy-to-install, low-impact and hugely exciting as a new way for people to live. It’s even more exciting when you consider the solution this project could provide for homelessness and the refugee crisis. We’ll be following its progress with great enthusiasm and interest!”

For more information on the SHED project and to apply to be a resident, visit the Lowe Guardian’s website.