ASK ANYONE WHO’S ever tried to find a rental apartment in densely populated city: It’s terrible. On par with going to the dentist or sitting through a Michael Bay movie marathon with commercials. No! It’s worse than all of that.There are few tasks as soul sucking and disheartening as the apartment hunt.
The space comes pre-fabricated in two sections that are easy to construct. Heijmans
Some of our most vibrant cities are in the midst of a housing crisis. Rents continue to rise, while wages stay relatively stagnant, save for a select group of people. The average resident of New York City, San Francisco, London, and comparable cities, can no longer afford to live in these there, at least not comfortably. Thinking of living alone? Great idea, see you in Iowa!
A single staircase leads you up into the bedroom. Heijmans
It’s not that cities aren’t trying to make it better (New York mayor Bill De Blasio recently signed off on pouring $8.2 billion of public funding for affordable housing), but housing solutions often comes in the form of sprawling projects or concessions begrudgingly made by developers in order to get a building approved. Most of these projects aren’t design centered, mainly because when we’re talking about big sums of money, efficiency trumps atmosphere.
The Heijmans ONE being built. Heijmans
Placing the Heijmans ONE into position
It’s interesting then that a new proposal from Dutch construction company Heijmans has found a way to make low-cost housing look swank. The Heijmans ONE is a prefabricated home meant for residents who are young, single and just beginning to build their careers. This “not quite” generation, as the company describes them, has a steady job and makes a decent living, just not enough for them to live on their own in an expensive city. The ONE is solves for that by offering a two-story, 45 square-meter home for €750 ($814) a month, cheaper than what someone would pay to live in Amsterdam’s city center, and far less than NYC’s own micro-apartment proposal, which is offering 260 to 360 square-foot homes for $2,000 to $3,000.
Heijmans cut costs by streamlining fabrication and limiting construction expenses. The structure is fabricated in two main components (and upper and lower level) that can be built on-site in less than a day. The house has a steel frame and natural wood skeleton, which you can see on the inside walls. It’s tall and narrow, just 3.5 meters wide, and full of light. A single staircase takes residents to the loft area where the bedroom is, which makes the space feel larger than it might otherwise.
At just 3.5 meter wide, the space isn’t huge, but it is relatively cheap (€750 a month).
The idea is that the ONE houses will be constructed outside of city centers as a way to make use of underdeveloped plots of land. Heijmans has built the first ONE on the outskirts of Amsterdam where it’s being tested by Carmen Felix, a 28-year-old online editor who prior to moving in was living with a roommate in the same apartment she as a student.
You could see how the concept would be appealing to cities across the world, and indeed, Heijmans has been approached by people in San Francisco, New York and London to see how they might be adapted. In essence, Heijmans is looking to bring the concept of a starter home to rental apartments—a modest, reasonably priced pad for people just beginning their adult lives. In big, expensive cities the concept of a starter anything—house, apartment, broom closet—is laughable. But this makes it seem possible, even if there are a few small drawbacks. “I do miss my supermarket around the corner,” says Felix. “The nearest one is a 10 minute bike ride away. I know, you can get very spoiled living in Amsterdam.”
The idea is to make use of underutilized urban land.Heijmans