SHED is a new modular living concept designed to be inserted in empty buildings in London and beyond – with rents starting from £300 a month in the capital.
The structures are the brainchild of Lowe Guardians, a property management company that takes over vacant sites to provide affordable temporary accommodation, and are designed by London-based Studio Bark. Together they aim to provide low-cost housing in high-rent locations.
‘The SHED concept provides a safe, sustainable alternative for people seeking short-term accommodation,’ says Lowe Guardians director Tim Lowe, who will launch the first SHED homes in a central London location later this year.
Lowe set up his company in 2016 to offer a more secure alternative to some existing property guardian schemes, where people pay reduced rent to look after empty buildings including disused commercial premises, keeping out squatters. A property guardian himself back in 2014, he says his poor experience gave him the idea to introduce self-contained structures within empty spaces.
‘Although our primary focus is on housing property guardians in the vacant sites, this could change housing in London, the UK and the rest of the world, helping to alleviate homelessness and providing a solution to the refugee crisis.’
Each SHED home can be constructed and dismantled in a day and costs just £5,500 to build. Starting at just 120 sq ft, they are made from lamb’s wool insulation, oriented strand board (OSB), and recycled polyester.
It will cost young professionals, keyworkers and creatives between £300 and £400 pcm to live in one of the modular homes in central London, with all bills included.
Recent research conducted by Lowe Guardians found that there are currently 600,000 empty properties across the UK that could be used for temporary residency using the new SHED home solution, including thousands of prime sites in central London.
‘Derelict warehouses have huge, untapped potential for us that could benefit Guardians and property owners alike,’ says Lowe.
Adds Studio Bark director Wilf Meynell: ‘The SHED project presented us with the opportunity to explore new options of temporary housing and shelter and provides the opportunity to put a stop to substandard and wasteful temporary development in London and across the UK.’
Would-be residents of the SHED homes can apply via Lowe Guardian’s website.