A New House for London


A New House For London responds to the question: can design help us meet London’s housing challenge? Discover this shipping container house pushing design boundaries with seamlessly adaptable spaces and innovative technology.

The average UK worker earns £24,648 gross (source: Office of National Statistics). The average London home is £525,000. Therefore the average person doesn’t earn enough before tax in a year to pay the minimum 5 per cent deposit on a home. Renting is the only option but is expensive and inadequately served.

Faced with a rapidly growing population, London’s crisis is heading towards a catastrophe unless there are radical solutions.

A New House For London demonstrates a house type that incorporates several ideas that may be relevant to this housing challenge.

By using shipping containers and a design that is pared back to low-cost components and processes, this unit costs less than an average 10 per cent deposit in the capital.

On top of the structure, there is the challenge of affording the land on to which the container-home may be sited. Here the nature of a prefabricated, portable and flexible home unit has advantages. It can arrive easily, be configured in different ways and densities, and move on in time. It suggests that units could lease land-rights, rather like narrowboats have moorings.

The project is open source, freely sharing ideas intended to encourage innovation in housing. We believe the plug-in home with self-build elements needs to be developed further and invite collaboration.

London is full of parcels of land that could be better utilised. Only with low-cost, quick-build and flexible solutions, such as this proposal, may we meet all citizens’ basic need for comfortable shelter in the city.

A New House For London has been developed by Carl Turner Architects, Arup and The Building Centre, with generous support from CBMM, as part of the London Design Festival. Global fashion and design brand Eley Kishimoto have designed internal and external graphics throughout the house. Urban Growth Learning Gardens provided all the landscaping.


A New House for London is located outside The Building Centre.

Monday - Friday: 10.00am - 5.00pm

Accompanying the installation is an exhibiton in the Café Gallery which features plans, structural details and  electrical information about the project. Click here to view online.  

Creative team: Arup, Carl Turner Architects, The Building Centre and CBMM

Partners: Build Base, Coillte, Moixa, Photonstar LED​, LED Linear