Case Study /
Aug 8, 2019

Is This Modular System the Secret to Affordable Housing?

Swedish architect Andreas Martin-Löf has created a modular apartment complex to address the housing affordability crisis in his hometown of Stockholm.

"In recent years, Stockholm has become a very expensive city to live in," Martin-Löf says in this short video by Monocle Films. "Since the deregulation of the housing market in the early 90s, very few rental apartments have been built. That has led to very high prices. People with a normal income can not even buy a one-room apartment."

Sweden's rent control laws keep apartments below market prices, causing lease holders to hold on to them even if they're not occupied, Apartment Therapy reports. This has created an extreme backlog of people waiting for apartments. 

Martin-Löf's solution was a complex made up of modular apartments that are a modest 32 square meters (about 344 square feet). Each unit includes a kitchen, living area, sleeping area, wardrobes, and a small desk. He says he prioritized high-quality materials and nice finishes for the project, despite their low cost.

 “The idea is to build temporary structures onsite for the time the land is not being used, and the buildings can stay up to 15 years on temporary building permits,” Martin-Löf told Apartment Therapy. “Later, they can be moved to new sites.”

The apartment modules are constructed from sandwich panels in a factory in Sweden, with about two units being completed each day. The units can be stacked to create any size of apartment complex.

Martin-Löf plans to continue building structures from his modular system, according to Apartment Therapy. Rent for a unit in one of the projects is the equivalent of about $527 U.S. a month.

"I hope that the tenants will feel happy in their apartments, and also a sense of pride, because they are made of the high-quality materials, and the building as a whole creates a sculpture in the city," Martin-Löf says of the sleek, modern building.

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