A new prefabricated prototype developed by a Deakin University-led collaboration is expected to make a big impact on the ‘tiny home’ housing segment in Geelong and beyond.

Deakin University partnered with Geelong technology company FormFlow, and short-term accommodation provider Samaritan House Geelong to develop a prototype of a prefabricated one-bedroom unit designed to achieve greater affordability for homeowners and people in need of transitional housing.

Named Prefab21, the tiny house measures 4m by 10m, and comprises of a living space, bedroom and bathroom.

Comfort, sustainability and affordability were the primary objectives of the design process for the tiny home, according to project leader Professor James Doerfler from Deakin’s School of Architecture and Built Environment.

“Our architecture students worked closely with our partners to design a prototype Independent Living Unit that will be used at Samaritan House Geelong.

“Prefab21 draws on sustainable design principles using strong, durable, recyclable materials, and exploits the potential of FormFlow’s world-first revolutionary bending technology and advanced prefabrication processes.”

Samaritan House Geelong will install Prefab21 in the suburb of Moolap as transitional accommodation for homeless men. Seven units will be installed as part of the project, which aims to address the shortage of affordable rental accommodation for single homeless men in Geelong.

Samaritan House Geelong board member Brian Sherwell observes that the project has excellent potential for independent living, especially related to social housing needs in regional Victoria and elsewhere across the country.

Prefab21 met six-star energy ratings and had a reduced carbon footprint thanks to the use of recyclable materials in its construction, FormFlow chief operating officer Bernard Brussow said.

The tiny home incorporates passive solar features such as a north-facing orientation, elevated ceiling, high eaves and a ‘floating’ roof, which accommodates the winter sun and blocks the summer sun. The window positions and high ceilings give the tiny house a sense of spaciousness, eliminating the boxed-in feeling.

Brussow notes that the Prefab21 concept has wide potential in prefabricated modular living and tiny house applications.

“As well as transitional housing, the design is already being used by conventional homeowners who need extra space, such as families with growing teenagers. It can also be used as emergency accommodation after bushfires or earthquakes and its modularity means it can be expanded for standard housing, with particular value in high density urban areas and developing nations,” he added.

Image: Pintrest