Urban Splash and shedkm announce the first phase of their new and innovative ‘hoUSe’ project.

Offering customers bespoke, architect-designed homes along the canal in New Islington, Manchester, the development gives buyers the power to choose the layout of their home.

The first 43 hoUSes adopt a traditional terraced approach but internally layouts can be configured to tailor one, two, three, four and five bedroom homes with an open-plan or more traditional feel. The hoUSe project represents an alternative to the established mass house-building schemes across the UK in terms of design and delivery.

These homes in New Islington are made of volumetric timber pods that are delivered to site with minimal disruption to neighbours. The benefits of building homes in this manner is that all standards and tolerances can be monitored in a factory-controlled environment, meaning the houses are warm and incredibly energy efficient, as well as flexible to plan and adapt. With a striking modern design, featuring familiar pitch roof motifs, the hoUSe has proved incredibly popular with the first 43 homes selling out prior to launch. It’s not just the method of construction that is revolutionary but also the manner in which hoUSe was conceived.

Architects shedkm and developers Urban Splash came together to generate the concept in the first instance and this evolved into a delivery system and a search for the right sites; it can easily be adapted for a range of different locations across the UK.

The hoUSes on the New Islington plot are long and slender and range from two to three storeys. The grey exteriors are broken up by thick-banded black window bays that offer occupants with views out over Manchester, while also allowing an abundance of sunlight to enter the rooms. Internal configuring means that owners can select between ‘loft’ or ‘garden’ living, which means that you can opt for the communal areas to be located at the base or top of the house. This approach to upside down living was pioneered by shedkm and Urban Splash at Chimney Pot Park, where gardens were located at first-floor level to create parking spaces below and best use the space available of a tight urban site. This development is now regarded as an exemplar housing scheme in the area.

Director at shedkm, Ian Killick said “We’re delighted to see the first phase of the hoUSe project completed at New Islington. This concept has been a long time in the making and we believe that it is a game-changer to tackle the current housing shortage this country is facing. They also happen to be homes that people are proud to live in.”

Urban Splash Chairman Tom Bloxham MBE added “hoUSe is born from our desire to create something for customers who want to live in well-designed homes and stay in the city centre. We noticed that within UK cities there is a real lack of diversity in terms of new residential stock and our traditional customers – those who had bought and enjoyed Urban Splash flats – would ultimately get older, richer and end up moving to Victorian and Georgian terraces in the suburbs.”

“hoUSe is our way of offering them something in the city. It’s a really exciting prospect and I am as excited by this as I was by our first lofts over 20 years ago. At prices less per square foot than city centre flats, lower maintenance costs than old Victorian houses or blocks of flats, big floorplates, high ceilings and huge windows they have already been well received and I’m certain will be a big part of Urban Splash’s future.”