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Affordable House : Loft Style Living Concept

MiLoft : Contemporary Residential Architecture – design by RMJM

10 Mar 2009


Architect launches house that needs no heating

Design: RMJM

As recession bites, architect launches house that needs no heating

Affordable housing has been taken to the next level with the unveiling of a new stylish housing model which requires no heating – with body heat sufficient to keep occupants warm – and offers rooftop vegetable gardens.

MiLoft MiLoft building MiLoft design

UK-based international architects RMJM launched the ‘MiLoft’ design, with its rooftop ‘aloftments’, at the international property market MIPIM today, 10 March 2009, in Cannes, France. The concept is targeted at homeowners who wish to experience loft style living, without the need to buy a penthouse, and true affordability both in terms of purchase cost and energy usage.

RMJM – which is experienced in the design of residential accommodation throughout the world – came up with the design in response to ambitious government targets for providing affordable new homes in cities where stock is in short supply and where falling property values are forcing developers to look at new ways of maximising the return on their development.

In addition to protecting the environment by using zero carbon technology and sustainable materials, the MiLoft design will mean significant savings for homeowners and occupants with minimal energy usage and running costs.

By using innovative ‘Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery’ (MVHR) technology designed by award-winning Max Fordham Consulting Engineers, combined with an exceptionally high level of air tightness, heat generated within the home – such as body heat and heat from household appliances – is reused to maintain indoor air temperature at a constant level. MVHR negates the need for a traditional heating system.

In the summer, the dual aspect, double height loft-style and open plan living space will provide natural ventilation in high temperatures, reducing the requirement for air conditioning for hot climates. Rain water is collected from the roof and redistributed for toilet flushing.

The low cost, low energy residential units will be available in a variety of layouts with one, two, three or four bedroom apartments and can be combined in a variety of configurations to create six storey apartment blocks which will suit most urban locations.

MiLoft project MiLoft interior MiLoft image

In addition to meeting government targets for sustainability, the new housing model has a low construction cost, starting at £55,000 per unit, and the modular design, with shallow foundations requiring little groundwork, means that the blocks can take only five months to build. Made from responsibly sourced timber with steel stiffeners, the units are designed to fit on the back of a truck for easy transportation from the factory direct to the site.

The apartments encourage social interaction, with communal staircases which are more like garden terraces, featuring plants and trees, and rooftop gardens which give the opportunity for home-grown vegetables. The rooftop ‘aloftments’ also reduce urban surface water run-off, help reduce CO2 emissions and encourage younger residents, more used to urban landscapes, to respect the environment.

The MiLoft concept is already attracting interest from politicians and housing executives in the UK and RMJM is now preparing to make the model available in other urban centres which face affordable housing supply issues including Russia, India and the US.

MiLoft is the brainchild of RMJM’s Group Design Director Tony Kettle, who is also responsible for the design of Gazprom’s Ohkta Tower in St Petersburg, which will become the tallest tower in Europe and one of the most low energy high rise buildings in the world as a result of unique technology which minimises the need for heating despite temperatures dipping to minus 30 degrees.

On his MiLoft concept, Tony Kettle commented: “MiLoft is a new model for urban living providing a far better quality of life with the minimum impact on the environment. In a world hit by recession caused by overconsumption and greed, it illustrates that good things need not cost the earth. We aim to revolutionise affordable housing supply across the world.”

MiLoft images / information from RMJM Architects

RMJM Architects

Location: London, England, UK

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