A quick way to house the young homeless

A quick way to house the young homeless
Scottish Review, by Ian Begg

Kenneth Roy’s piece about homelessness among young people (29 January) hits hard. I have been aware of this serious problem for some time and have tried to do something about it. A few years ago I had a low-cost housing proposal published in RIAS Quarterly, the journal of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland.

The proposal was a very economical way of erecting special semi-permanent houses quickly. It was primarily intended for a rural setting but with care I have no doubt that ‘brownfield’ sites could be found in the cities.

The idea is based on a central common room of prefabricated construction with 10 satellite ‘houses’. Each house is built with 15 identical-sized panels which can be erected on prepared foundations in a day and when erected each is completely weather- tight. One hundred and fifty panels provide 10 houses.

A good many years ago we built a very simple wildlife hide on the Solway coast, based on this idea, as an experiment. It was one unit of 15 panels, erected in one day, and I hear it is still there.