Rogers unveils UK’s first 'flexi-house'

Design luminary Richard Rogers has unveiled a modernist ‘flexi-house’ that can evolve from one to three bedrooms depending on the needs of its buyer.

Located on a Wimpey estate just outside Milton Keynes, the seminal construction is being seen as an attempt to remodel the British home at an affordable price.

It marks Lord Rogers’s first home design for almost 40 years and represents the first explicit threat to Ikea, which plans to erect timber-based BoKlok houses.

People who turn down the Swedish giant’s three-bedroom offer, estimated to sell for £150,000, can reassure themselves that a Rogers’s house may cost more, but it offers unique freedoms.

Top of the list is the ability to simply ‘clip on’ a new bedroom when the family grows and similarly, families can sub-divide their home if the family shrinks, or open plan appears too daunting.

While the colours of the exterior are fixed – the showhome reportedly sports tones of mauve, orange and pink – homeowners will be free to choose different wall finishes to suit.

The roof of the futuristic-looking home is pitched, the windows are double-glazed and replacing the garage is a ‘carport’ – a unit at the side of the building that tucks cars out of sight.

The details of Rogers’s three-bedroom house, obtained by The Sunday Times, come after warnings that the number of 30-something home-owners could shrink to 30% in two decades.

Speaking to the paper, Trevor Beattie, a director of English partnerships, the government regeneration body providing the land, said the design accommodates for changing lifestyles.

“You can begin as a couple with an open-plan ground floor and kitchen and a huge open-plan bedroom covering the first floor.

“When children come along you can subdivide rooms to create bedrooms, and then, when they leave home again, you can open it all up again.”

The showhome, valued at an estimated £230,000, is expected to be available in a dozen variations of size and layout by the time a terrace of them is put up for sale next year.

Upon entering the partnership with Wimpey, Lord Rogers said he intended to deliver “flexible, modern methods of construction.”

He also vowed to undertake an “ambitious environmental strategy” to make the homes eco-friendly.

Reports suggest this has been achieved with an ‘eco-hat’ that catches sunlight on the roof, and an adjoining small motor that circulates warm air into the building during the winter.


4th December 2006

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