ABC TV was in our co-lo offices in Glebe last week as part of its feature on our co-tenant Alexander Symes, an architect who is tonight (Thursday) launching his flat-pack, low-cost answer to the housing affordability crisis in Sydney.

It’s “IKEA on steroids”, Symes says of his moveable, self-contained, off-grid system, which comes with its own trailer and can be placed on any available piece of vacant land while the occupants save for something more conventional.

“A drill, a hammer and a wrench are all that are needed to put together the 37 panels that make up the house,” Symes says on the ABC report.

“It has all its water tanks; we have two potable water tanks, we’ve got one grey water tank, so all the waste water effectively comes to the grey water tank, you add an additive to it and then effectively that’s safe to go on your garden.

“We’ve got the gas cylinders for cooking and also for hot water heating, [and] we’ve got batteries at the back – they’re linked to the solar PV and that’s effectively what runs all your lights.”

Known as Big World Homes, they will sell for $65,000.

Joanne Jakovich, director of SOUP, who is leading strategy and innovation for the project, said the launch tonight seeks to raise the balance of the $65,000 needed to pay for the first home, which will be constructed as part of the Sydney Architecture Festival.

The tally by midday Thursday was just over $41,000.

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  1. I understand Matthew’s concerns for ‘normal’ to make these marketable, but the underlying assumption of location is yet to be addressed.
    Is it not fundamentally a mobile home, reliant on either designated caravan park type leases, or as Tim Horton spoke earlier – ‘curated land’?
    It is a transitional housing form, requiring substantial capital outlay for ownership,(banks presumably will factor these as personal loans, so alternative funding will need to be found), yet relies on benevolent land owners providing rent that’s affordable. Not impossible I grant (Thank you Gosford Council), but hard to scale up.
    ‘Curated land’ is the key, hopefully located near employment, services and transport.