Growing Out before Out Growing - Flexible Housing for New Zealand
Housing in New Zealand often makes its way into the headlines, with issues such as demand, shortfall and affordability dominating the news. There is, however, one issue that is prevalent but is barely addressed. This is the issue of suitability. Many New Zealanders are living in houses that are inappropriate for their needs. This problem exists along a spectrum and affects everyone. The truth is, at some stage in our lives, we may find ourselves living in a house that is either too big or too small.
The purpose of this research is to investigate whether flexible housing is a feasible solution to address the problem of suitability. This is achieved through the design of a modular prefabricated construction system and the design of a connection which facilitates this flexibility. This system consists of a prefabricated modular panel system and a designed connection, which allows the physical fabric of the house to be altered, so it can increase or decrease in size to suit its occupants’.
The feasibility of this system has been evaluated through the construction of a full-scale prototype and the design of a house to test its flexible abilities. Fundamentally, this research should hopefully change the way we think about constructing homes in New Zealand. An inversion of the current process and will see home construction suited to the occupant at the very beginning, middle and end of their lifespan instead of just a potentially small period. This solution could also bring about change in the way we finance our homes allowing for incremental change and incremental investment over the lifetime of the building.