Why is Naked House building homes with missing walls?
DISRUPTORS: The ideas changing industries
With England in the throes of a housing crisis, only 57% of private renters ever expect to own their own home. Hoping to help more people on to the property ladder is Naked House — a no-frills developer that lowers the price of first homes by skipping the unnecessary finishes and fittings. We explore the insights behind the company’s ultra-basic London development, and why houses without internal walls could be exactly what people want.
Naked House is a non-profit housing developer that is tackling the lack of affordable housing in the UK by building ultra-basic properties, which will cost up to 40% less than standard new builds. The concept is being tested on three sites in north London, where 22 apartments will be constructed with funding assistance from the Mayor of London. Each flat will be sold as a shell; properties will have structural necessities and basic plumbing, but will be completely devoid of decoration, fixtures and even internal walls, enabling purchasers to adapt and customise the home to their needs and tastes. The approach will help keep prices between £150,000 and £340,000 — significantly lower than London’s average of £580,000.
Naked House adopts the precedent set by Chilean architect Alejandro Aravena’s ‘half of a good house’ developments. Both projects acknowledge an urgent need for affordable housing and see people’s willingness — or desire — to create their own home as a solution. “The idea is to strip out all of the stuff that people don’t want in the first place,” says Simon Chouffot, one of the founders of Naked House. “People want to do some of the custom building. We can make it affordable by people doing some of the work themselves.” An Ipsos poll found that 26 million Britons are interested in constructing their own home at some point in their lives, so the idea that people will want to have a play at architect and interior designer is a fair assumption to make. If all goes well, the initiative will enable Generation Rent to make their first step on to the property ladder.
Katy Young is a behavioural analyst at Canvas8, which specialises in behavioural insights and consumer research. She has a degree in American Studies and Film, and an MA in Journalism. Her interests include wild swimming, thinking of podcast ideas and singing in an all-female choir.