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Pod-like 'Shed' offers housing solution within abandoned buildings

A building within a building - the Shed is a pod that can be erected within a day to provide sheltered accommodation.

The shortage of affordable housing in the UK has prompted two companies to come up an innovative solution that's a big improvement on squatting.

And it's all about maximising vacant buildings – a recent survey showed more than 200,000 homes in England had remained empty for six months or longer, all while the numbers of homeless increase.

But it's not just homes. Throughout the country there are derelict warehouses and abandoned buildings.

A mezzanine bed maximises space in the Shed.

Lowe Guardians, a company that provides young professionals with housing in return for being guardians of vacant buildings, has teamed up with designers at Studio Bark to create The Shed, a housing pod that can be inserted directly into a vacant building.

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The Shed is not seen as a longtime housing solution, but a temporary measure for guardians of vacant buildings, or even homeless people.

Lowe says derelict warehouses remain a huge, untapped potential that could benefit guardians and property owners alike. "However, the reality has always been that turning vast, open spaces into private rooms for guardians has always been both tricky and time consuming."

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The company says it will soon be able to take on bigger, more derelict properties that have huge potential for providing quality accommodation.

"What's special about the Shed is that it is an environmentally friendly, self-contained solution for each individual guardian. What's more, the Shed only takes one day to build and dismantle – all you need is a mallet and a drill. It minimises waste because it can be taken down and rebuilt in a different site."

The Shed does away with the need to build a small flat within a vacant building.

The pod is built from affordable, low-impact materials with a mixture of Oriented Strand Board (OSB), lamb's wool insulation and a small amount of recycled polyester. All materials are made in the UK and are durable.

"The Shed is all about self-build and it can be decorated or changed by guardians who are passionate about the space they occupy. We also want our guardians to get involved in building their own space (with our help of course) and take ownership of their living quarters."

Lowe says many of its guardians live fast-paced, transient lifestyles. "In some ways, this makes it even more important that at the end of a busy day, they have a private space that is entirely personal to them. Our guardians want to have an impact on the space they live and the bespoke nature of the shed allows them to do that."

Each Shed allows for a certain degree of customisation.

Each Shed measures 11 square metres and costs about £5,500 (NZ$9800) to build. Rent will cost between £300 and £400 ($535 and $713) per month.

Stuff

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