Architecture

Dublin considers modular homes for the homeless

Dublin considers modular homes...
The DRHE is part of Dublin City Council and is responsible for tackling homelessness across the city's four local authorities
The DRHE is part of Dublin City Council and is responsible for tackling homelessness across the city's four local authorities
View 23 Images
The DRHE is part of Dublin City Council and is responsible for tackling homelessness across the city's four local authorities
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The DRHE is part of Dublin City Council and is responsible for tackling homelessness across the city's four local authorities
The DRHE hopes that modular housing could provide an interim solution between people being homeless and getting back into the housing market proper
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The DRHE hopes that modular housing could provide an interim solution between people being homeless and getting back into the housing market proper
The DRHE has produced a demonstration development of six modular houses
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The DRHE has produced a demonstration development of six modular houses
The scheme is aimed at showing what modular homes look like and how they are designed
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The scheme is aimed at showing what modular homes look like and how they are designed
The six modular units on show are from Skyclad, Modular Homes Ireland, Spacebox, Roankabin, Portakabin and MOM Services Limited
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The six modular units on show are from Skyclad, Modular Homes Ireland, Spacebox, Roankabin, Portakabin and MOM Services Limited
The modular houses on display range in size from 46 sq m (495 sq ft) to 81 sq m (872 sq ft)
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The modular houses on display range in size from 46 sq m (495 sq ft) to 81 sq m (872 sq ft)
The modular houses on display each have two bedrooms, a kitchen / living space, storage facilities and a bathroom
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The modular houses on display each have two bedrooms, a kitchen / living space, storage facilities and a bathroom
The units on display show that, inside, modular homes need look no different to traditional homes
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The units on display show that, inside, modular homes need look no different to traditional homes
Factory-assembly means that the modular houses can be built in as little as a matter of days
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Factory-assembly means that the modular houses can be built in as little as a matter of days
Up to 90 percent of the modular house construction process can be completed before arriving on-site
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Up to 90 percent of the modular house construction process can be completed before arriving on-site
The DRHE says a typical 20-unit development of modulaer homes could be completed in 6-8 weeks
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The DRHE says a typical 20-unit development of modulaer homes could be completed in 6-8 weeks
One provider of the modular homes on display says that it can install up to eight units per day
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One provider of the modular homes on display says that it can install up to eight units per day
Constructing at least part of the units in a factory also means that better build accuracy, quality assurance and consistency can be ensured
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Constructing at least part of the units in a factory also means that better build accuracy, quality assurance and consistency can be ensured
By minimizing on-site work, the construction process is made safer
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By minimizing on-site work, the construction process is made safer
The construction costs of modular homes can be reduced through the potential for mass production
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The construction costs of modular homes can be reduced through the potential for mass production
The DRHE's modular housing demonstration opened on Sept. 15 and will run until Oct. 2
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The DRHE's modular housing demonstration opened on Sept. 15 and will run until Oct. 2
Following the demonstration, the DRHE will submit a proposal about how to progress with the development of modular housing to central government
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Following the demonstration, the DRHE will submit a proposal about how to progress with the development of modular housing to central government
A children's bedroom in one of the modular homes on display
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A children's bedroom in one of the modular homes on display
A master bedroom in one of the modular homes on display
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A master bedroom in one of the modular homes on display
A view of one of the modular homes on display from the outside
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A view of one of the modular homes on display from the outside
A view of one of the kitchen / living spaces that the modular homes on display have
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A view of one of the kitchen / living spaces that the modular homes on display have
The modular houses on display are single storey and have a small footprint
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The modular houses on display are single storey and have a small footprint
A number of the modular homes on display have large expanses of glazing to allow natural light in
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A number of the modular homes on display have large expanses of glazing to allow natural light in
View gallery - 23 images

According to the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE), there were 607 families in emergency accommodation in Dublin during August this year. One means of reducing this, it says, could be the use of modular housing. It can be built quickly and inexpensively to house homeless families temporarily.

Modular housing is already being used to accommodate the homeless elsewhere. Only recently, for example, the Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners-designed Y:Cube was opened in London, having been developed by the YMCA charity. As is the case with Y:Cube, the DRHE hopes that modular housing could provide an interim solution between people being homeless and getting back into the housing market proper.

The DRHE is part of Dublin City Council and is responsible for tackling homelessness across the city's four local authorities. As part of a conversation about how to get families in homeless accommodation back into normal housing, it has produced a demonstration development of six modular houses.

The scheme is aimed at showing what modular homes look like and how they are designed. Its purpose is to inform the discussion about the viability of modular housing as a solution to homelessness.

The scheme is aimed at showing what modular homes look like and how they are designed
The scheme is aimed at showing what modular homes look like and how they are designed

The six modular units on show are each from a different provider, namely Skyclad, Modular Homes Ireland, Spacebox, Roankabin, Portakabin and MOM Services Limited. They range in size from 46 sq m (495 sq ft) to 81 sq m (872 sq ft) and each have two bedrooms, a kitchen / living space, storage facilities and a bathroom. All are designed with housing families in mind and have average lifespans of 20-30 years, with some providers claiming lifespans of 60 years for their units.

A number of benefits are cited for the modular houses on display. Factory-assembly means that the build process can take as little as a matter of days, with up to 90 percent being able to be completed before arriving on-site. A typical 20-unit development, the DRHE says, could be completed in 6-8 weeks, with one provider suggesting that up to eight units per day can be installed.

Constructing at least part of the units in a factory also means that better build accuracy, quality assurance and consistency can be ensured. By minimizing on-site work, the construction process is made safer, and construction costs can be reduced through the potential for mass production.

The modular houses on display each have two bedrooms, a kitchen / living space, storage facilities and a bathroom
The modular houses on display each have two bedrooms, a kitchen / living space, storage facilities and a bathroom

The DRHE's modular housing demonstration opened on Sept. 15 and will run until Oct. 2. A proposal about how to progress with the development of modular housing will be subsequently submitted to central government.

The video below provides an introduction to the modular housing demonstration.

Sources: Dublin Region Homeless Executive, Dublin City Council

DRHE Modular Housing Solutions Showcase September

View gallery - 23 images
9 comments
Stephen N Russell
Needed for So CA since LA spending 1M for homeless care needs alone, Bring to LA CA USA
gizmowiz
Did you know that if you took the 300,000 + churches in America and converted them all to condominiums there would be no homeless in America? And for that matter this is true for any country in the world.
Don Duncan
"...large expanses of glazing allow for natural lighting." True, and allow for large energy bills. Windows that will almost never be used to look outside will be covered by shades during the day and completely closed at night. This is the most inefficient method of lighting possible, but that is not a concern to the builder, buyer, or user. Why? They don't pay. This is public housing, paid for by taxes and justified as an emergency humanitarian measure. The focus is not on efficiency, but high profits, and politics.
When the consumer does not pay, the product is substandard, despite appearances.
Stephen: Californication needs capitalism, not socialism. Homeless are created by govt. But that's what govt. is: a decease masquerading as a cure.
Douglas Bennett Rogers
I'm in a modular house that was built in 1960!
Tom Lee Mullins
I think it could also be used when the high cost of homes makes it too expensive for some to have one. I can see it in a village of small affordable housing for those who don't want or need a lot of house.
Daishi
@Stephen Russell
LA declared a state of emergency on homelessness and is spending $100 million to house them.
In my opinion I think they should solve the problem by housing them somewhere cheaper than LA. I think it would be cheaper to build homeless shelters in Mexico and migrate our homeless there.
I think it's unfair to solve the immigration problem by sending back working migrants and building a border wall is impractical. Instead of Trump telling Mexico to pay for a border wall he should negotiate they help cover the costs of some of the large homeless and maybe some section 8 shelters that will be built in Mexico. This way we are trading with Mexico instead of just importing.
Mexico is also a great solution to rising prison costs in the US and would be a good way to create jobs to help the economy there. If the Mexican border is more of a dotted line than a clear national security parameter I think we should treat it as such and make better use of an available resource ourselves.
DonGateley
@Don Duncan: thank you for sharing.
Alexander Lowe
There are a lot of interesting opinions being expressed about this article: I spotted a few relating to architecture, and several fascinating arguments about municipal politics in general, and Californian politics in particular. Re: the big, picture windows: these are entirely practical with triple glazing. Remember that the project is intended for Dublin, on a slightly more northerly latitude than Los Angeles, and with subtly different climate, with many fewer hours of full sunlight per year and significantly lower average temperatures. Much of the public housing built by the UK Government, out of necessity, following World War 2, was and is of a perfectly acceptable standard, given proper maintenance. It included prefabricated homes which outlasted their intended design-life by decades, and which their residents were reluctant to leave. None of this was 'socialism', and the assertion that 'When the consumer does not pay, the product is substandard' is just that - an assertion. Much of the private housing currently built in the UK (maybe US standards are higher in this regard) is expensive but of indifferent quality.
svengali49
While it is terrible to be homeless, I would have thought they would create something more like a YMCA where more people could be safely housed and have showers/toilets/kitchens etc. This looks more like motel AAA+++ accommodation and I think my wife and I would become homeless just to save the $500 a week rent we pay now for a house that is no better than any of those places!!!