Daily Planet

Beautiful sustainable housing could cover up scaffolding in cities

Homed is a sustainable housing project proposed by Oslo and New York City-based Framlab, which aims to capitalise on unused vertical space to address homelessness in cities.

The hexagon-shaped housing modules are cleverly designed to leverage existing city infrastructure by connecting to scaffolding, thereby creating a second suspended layer on top of an empty wall.

The result? Striking, honeycomb-like clusters that provide refuge for the city’s least fortunate.

The clusters are easily and cost-effectively erected, scaled, and disassembled. Therefore, they can respond to the changes in the built environmentas host scaffolding emerges and disappears. Access to the units would be provided by staircases fitted within the scaffolding frames.

The units have an outer aluminium shell and each end is capped with PMMA smart glass. The inner modules are 3D-printed from recyclable bioplastics (plant-based polymers that can biodegrade when disposed of), making for an affordable and environmentally-friendly solution. The interior is clad with wood laminate, which creates a warm and friendly atmosphere. Lighting and furniture can be embedded into the module, and customised to the resident’s needs.

Although the single-occupancy modules are modest in size, they offer important advantages over most shelters, such as privacy, safety, and a sense of home. The unit is designed to provide a year-round refuge for its resident.

Homed was formulated in response to New York’s homelessness crisis: the number of homeless people living in the city has reached the highest levels since the Great Depression of the ‘30’s, and its shelter system is at capacity.

Framlab emphasises that, while the design community ought to be involved in the conversation, Homed and projects like it cannot be depended on to solve the problem entirely: the complexity of the situation requires work on a broad regulatory and policy-making level.