There's a lot of abandoned, derelict buildings in cities around the world. And perhaps, rehabilitating and renovating them instead of demolishing them is the greenest way to go, but often this can be a costly, time-consuming process. For one possible solution, Dutch design firm Kraaijvanger proposes setting these under-utilized spaces up quickly with the installation of a prefabricated Hub unit, which comes with all the basic amenities like bathroom, kitchen and even an internet connection, all in one compact 161-square-foot package.
According to Gizmag, this winning design was made for the local Havensteder housing competition last year, in response to the theme: "How will we live in the future?"
The Hub encompasses the full gambit of the basics: a functional kitchen, bathroom, heating, and even a sound system and internet -- all of which can be hooked up through the module's single connection to a building's existing electrical and plumbing system. The idea is based on a flexible, pay-what-you-use business model, where the suppliers are financing it, rather than residents, so that they can be taken back, reserviced and reused elsewhere when needed, the designers say:
The Hub is a modular, easily dismantled system that allows empty buildings to be turned into homes in a few days. The idea is for users to rent or lease a Hub rather than buying it. So they aren't purchasing a home, just the comforts of one. The Hub is financed by the suppliers of materials, data services, energy, water and waste disposal, who also own the construction system.
With the Hub, an unused loft space could be almost instantly turned into a new office space -- or an apartment, with the addition of a Bedhub, which adds a supplementary sleeping space.
This is a versatile, scalable idea to quickly revitalize dilapidated urban buildings that we've previously seen in places like Japan. So far, the first iteration of the project has been installed in Rotterdam’s Zomerhofkwartier district, along with a Bedhub. To expand the theme further, the designers are now working on different versions of the Hub which might be used for interior urban gardening, a solar-powered Hub, and also a full-featured "techno Hub" with equipment for digitally-inclined people. For more information, visit Kraaijvanger.