Could flat-pack concept be the answer to affordable housing?

4 years ago
2 minutes

We’ve all bought a flat-pack table or dresser in order to save some money, but imagine if you could apply the same concept to a whole house.

Well, Studio Bark’s U-Build intends to bring this to the market and the idea has just been implemented on the first-floor extension of an 1830’s Georgian cottage in Essex, England.


U-Build relies solely on a flat-pack kit made from timber parts and is born from Studio Bark’s desire to make construction more affordable for the public. 

Components can be quickly slotted together like puzzle pieces to assemble a building frame, and easily dismantled, recycled or reused at the end of the structure’s life.


In 2018 Studio Bark presented the first house to be built using this method in Bicester, England, but now they’ve shown it can be used in an extension project. 

"We wanted to prove that the system is adaptable enough to be used for extensions and bespoke projects," said the studio.  

“Whilst the enabling works were being carried out, the client took delivery of a flat-packed U-Build kit and used their garage as a workshop to build and then store all of the U-Build boxes and other parts.”


Studio Bark was commissioned for four weeks to ensure the building was safe and watertight, but beyond this, the clients carried out the internal finish and the external cladding themselves.

Mill Lane’s extension is however windowless, posing the question of whether this is possible without expert help. Indeed, the bathroom fittings in the project needed copper specialist Jamie Johnstone — but the wooden panelling, DIY idea may well be an answer to more affordable housing. 


Studio Bark hopes the system will become widely adopted and claims the concept allows users to construct a house at least two months quicker than using traditional construction techniques. 

Click here to read how HESTA and SVA are planning on bringing affordable housing to Melbourne.

(All image credit: Lenny Codd)