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In many ways our urban areas are running out of affordable housing space within the city limits, forcing people to live in areas requiring a long commute to the city. A new housing solution called the Loftcube could solve several of today’s housing problems, as it is highly mobile and can be placed on nearly any surface, most notably the top of a building.
(Published on May-June 2006 – JEC Magazine #25)
Many modern-day occupations require frequent travel. Instead of settling down, some workers have to change their location almost every year. The steel and composite-based Loftcube is perfectly compatible with this kind of nomadic lifestyle. The creators of the Loftcube believe that it will also make it possible to use previously inaccessible areas in cities, thereby increasing available housing.
A practical, attractive steel and composite structure
Designed by Werner Aisslinger, the Loftcube ranges in size from 40 to 55m2. The structure’s frame is made primarily from hot-dip galvanised steel, but many of its indoor applications use sandwich and honeycomb composites, notably two sliding panels made of Corian and Zodiaq, two synthetic and high-strength quartz crystal composite materials created by DuPont. The panels can be used to subdivide the living area into separate rooms.
The Loftcube structure is also made up of honeycomb-type wooden modules with plastic laminates that are made from vacuum-formed white laminated polystyrene. Its window spaces contain Bayer’s Makrolon, a composite that is highly durable both in cold and warm weather. Mr Aisslinger says that he chose these materials partly for their durability, but also because they give the structure harmony, consistency and class.
The designers of the Loftcube say the average price per unit is around €55,000, although those looking to buy the structure have a number of options to choose from that will make it more or less expensive.
Creating its own space and neighbourhoods
The capabilities of the Loftcube are enormous, particularly relating to its implications for the housing market and in its mobility. Housing supply could increase in areas where it had previously been scarce, and people would be able to pick up and relocate much faster. Should the Loftcube catch on, our cities could look very different in a few years, particularly from above.
The Loftcube can be placed nearly anywhere. Some users have installed them on a recently purchased plot of beachfront property; some have even placed the suspended structure in shallow water of a pond or lake. Its most likely destination however, is on a building’s rooftop.
Designer Werner Aisslinger was born in Germany in 1964.
He studied design at the University of Arts in Berlin, and has worked as a professor at the Berlin University of Arts, the Lahti Design Institute in Finland and the Design College in Karlsruhe. His work has earned him numerous accolades across Europe and can be seen around the world, primarily in Europe and the United States.
Due to its easily constructible and mobile properties, landlords would not have much trouble putting a Loftcube on their roofs. Furthermore, the clear view from a rooftop would give the Loftcube light and make it a more attractive place to live.
Another advantage of the Loftcube is its high mobility. For an apartment, the structure is relatively light at 2,500 kilograms, meaning that it can be removed by a crane or a large helicopter. The Loftcube can also be dismantled with relative ease and then transported by truck, boat or aircraft.