Japanese start-up designs two-person house for 35,000 euros
Prefabricated houses have long been a mass market in Japan. The start-up Serendix is now presenting a technology that can build small homes in record time and for little money: houses from the printer. The new 50 square meter house “serendix50” can be built in two days and costs 5.5 million yen (35,000 euros).
This is the Japanese company’s second attempt at printing real estate. A few years ago, Serendix introduced a concrete building called “Sphere”, which offered ten square meters of living space in its Smurf house shape. The project made such headlines in Japan that the company received inquiries from mostly older customers as to whether a larger home could be built in this way.
Making houses affordable again
The start-up then developed the new model with the Digital Manufacturing and Design Research Center for Emergent Circularity at Keio University. Serendix is also thinking about a larger version. The goal is to make houses affordable again. Because many buyers are still burdened with repaying their loans until they reach retirement age. And according to the founders, more and more Japanese are finding it financially difficult to even purchase home ownership.
In addition to demographic change and the growing problem of empty houses, Professor Yosuke Hirayama from Kobe University blames three reasons for the fact that the share of home ownership among those under 40, even under zero interest rates, is significantly below previous values: later marriage, insecure employment and stagnating employment Wages.
The concrete printing of houses pursued by Serendix has long been considered a technology of the future. The Japanese now want to take it to a new level of automation. Instead of printing a house as a whole on site, printers create modules in a factory that can then be delivered by truck and placed on a prepared concrete foundation lined with steel pillars. At the same time, this method of building facades using panel construction, which is common in Japan, increases earthquake safety because the modules can move slightly against each other without breaking.
Prefabricated construction accounts for 15 percent
The next step in automating home construction could be successful in Japan, as many homes already come from factories. According to a market report by Modor Intelligence, Japan’s prefabricated housing market is “comparatively mature and developed” on a global scale. Already 15 percent of new residential construction uses prefabricated construction. The technology of modular construction is now spreading to Europe.
At the same time, small houses have traditionally been common in Japan and may now be enjoying a renaissance as society ages. Today you can still occasionally find the small, simple one-story wooden houses that sprung up in Japan’s rapid urbanization in the metropolises.
As wealth grew, small homes were replaced by larger houses. But today, Mika Kasamatsu, researcher at national online housing platform Suumo, is observing a new trend toward “minimal living.” It goes hand in hand with the idea of no longer buying many previously physical products such as music and books, but instead renting them online using subscription services for as long as you need them.
Japan has always tried everything possible with electronics – and often the impossible. Every Thursday our author Martin Kölling reports here on the latest trends from Japan and neighboring countries.
Habitat depending on life stage
In recent decades there has been a demand for single-family homes that offer enough rooms and space across different phases of life (life as a married couple, life with children and life in old age), explains the expert. Now, according to Kasamatsu, more and more people want to be able to optimize their living space depending on their phase of life. She therefore sees greater demand for small, single-story houses around 70 square meters that can be converted inside with little investment. 60 to 76 square meters of living space are a common size for family apartments in Japan’s metropolises.
Serendix’s Fujitsubo building with its 49 square meters can therefore be seen as a building that combines the desire for affordable homes for families and the needs of older customers. An open question is how carbon dioxide emissions in construction are changed by concrete pressure. To date, single-family homes and multi-family homes in Japan have mostly been made of wooden frames, which have a smaller ecological footprint compared to a concrete structure. A prefabricated multi-story wood-frame building in the Canadian city of Quebec produced 25 percent fewer carbon dioxide emissions than traditional steel or concrete buildings, according to a study published in Materials magazine.
To home page
#Japanese #startup #designs #twoperson #house #euros