Posts Tagged ‘Affordable housing’

Wise living: BoKlok, the IKEA house

15/06/2010

The IKEA way of life?

For some people, a weekend trip to IKEA is like a descent into the innermost circles of hell. The success of the outing is measured in how many times you have fallen out with your partner, shouted at your parents, or lost your kids amongst the soft toys and sofa beds. More than five = the norm. Less than five = a miracle.

Strangely (and somewhat pathetically?) I actually love going to IKEA. Perhaps it feels like a temporary dip into my Scandinavian gene-pool. Or maybe it’s the smug satisfaction of actually understanding, and being able to pronounce correctly, the peculiar names of the furniture pieces. Or it might just be the pull of the Swedish meatballs and Kopparberg pear cider…

Either way, did you know you can buy not only flat-pack furniture at IKEA, but an actual house to put your Billy Bookcases in?

Each unit has a balcony or patio

The BoKlok website explains the concept behind what IKEA is aiming for: affordable, comfortable and energy-efficient housing.

BoKlok is a groundbreaking concept to housing that involves providing space-saving, functional and high quality housing at a price that enables as many people as possible to afford a stylish and comfortable home.

As with other products from the Swedish furniture behemoth, the housing is kept at affordable levels through the use of standard, straight-forward designs and large-volume manufacturing. A lot of the production is done off-site, for cost-effectiveness and quality control.

Narrow street frontage for efficient land use

Apartment blocks and terraced houses are available; originally developed for the Swedish market, but now also built in Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Great Britain. The concept is also being launched in Germany (where off-site-manufactured and energy-efficient housing is not exactly a new idea).

Some of the design features are typically Scandinavian: timber construction and cladding, enclosed courtyards, open-plan living spaces, high ceilings and large windows. Perhaps surprisingly, the terraced housing features living areas downstairs and bedrooms upstairs – the opposite of many Nordic homes, where architects make the most of rising heat to keep bedrooms cool on the ground floor and living-rooms warm on the first floor. (Here, ThisIsMoney.co.uk looks at the potential financial benefits of “upside-down” living.)

I want my Werther's Originals back

All BoKlok schemes are sold through special sales events in IKEA stores, but before you rush out to buy one, a note of caution: the BoKlok group is awaiting the recovery of the UK housing market before it invests further over here.

Originally in partnership with the Home Group, IKEA/BoKlok AB has only completed one development in this country so far; the St James Village in Gateshead. The BoKlok/Home Group partnership is no longer active, with the Home Group having relinquished their national licence to use the BoKlok concept.

In a statement from January this year, BoKlok says they have no plans to withdraw from the UK market, though:

We believe that the BoKlok concept has a good market potential in the UK. There is an increasing need for good affordable homes and BoKlok can provide many people with better homes.

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