Skip to main content

Move over, IKEA, this British developer is building flat-pack homes

Manchester might be best known to its cousins across the pond for its famous football teams and its infamous music scenes but due to rapid growth, the world’s first industrialized city is being transformed (again) right before everyone’s eyes. And one innovative developer is turning to ultramodern building technologies that include smart home technology, modular construction, and what some have called “flat-pack” homes that resemble something one might buy at IKEA but also operate as fully functional living spaces.

The U.K. developer Urban Splash, which recently celebrated its 25th anniversary, is building a new set of smart homes that are set to arrive in Manchester later this year. The project, launched in partnership with the award-winning architecture firm Shedkm, is called Mansion House and will feature single-entrance apartment blocks that consist of between eight and ten homes.

The construction is groundbreaking compared to the traditional construction method used in regeneration projects of this type. Each apartment in Mansion House uses panels for walls, which enables construction crews to simply click the slots together just as one might assemble a piece of flat pack furniture. Interestingly, the inner walls are non-load-bearing, which gives the occupants the option of reconfiguring the layout even after construction has been completed.

To start, these future homeowners simply choose a layout, from among nine different configurations, that meets their needs, with choices ranging from a two-bedroom arrangement with a fully equipped kitchen to a completely empty layout with a simple kitchen that offers an ambiance close to loft living in a big city. With just two apartments per shared hallway, Mansion House units will offer large windows on both sides as well as dramatic views over the New Islington Marina.

In addition, Urban Splash has directed its architects to build smart home technology directly into each unit in what is a rare change for a new-build project. Homeowners will have access to a variety of features including app-enabled wireless control over their lighting, heating, and hot water. Urban Splash’s chosen smart home platform is the Lightwave Control System, which is also compatible with Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit, for those residents who are prone to conversing with their smart speakers or digital assistants.

Ian McKillick, Director of Shedkm, told the Manchester Evening News, “Our starting point for Mansion House was to challenge and rethink the trend toward larger, monolithic, and increasingly impersonal apartment blocks and towers springing up in our towns and cities. Instead we have focused on creating great places to live – and, whilst the aesthetics are important – the design of Mansion House blocks mean that we are evoking community living and encouraging neighborly living.”

New Islington, Manchester - Transforming Places

Urban Splash recently completed and sold out Town House, a series of modular apartment communities that were built in factories and then craned onto construction sites. The developer is also in the process of building an enormous modular housing project in the relatively new community of Northstowe in Cambridgeshire, which will eventually consist of 440 homes. Urban Splash won the job in a competition that will require the builder to complete eight homes per month.

Clayton Moore
Clayton Moore’s interest in technology is deeply rooted in the work of writers like Warren Ellis, Cory Doctorow and Neal…
Get 15% off this FlexiSpot electronic standing desk at Amazon
A white FlexiSpot Home Office Electric Height Adjustable Desk in an office.

There are lots of benefits to using a standing desk, and if you think you need one, you should check out the standing desk deals that are available today. Here's an attractive option from Amazon -- the Flexispot electronic standing desk for only $238, following a 15% discount on its original price of $280. This is a limited-time offer though, so there's a real risk of missing out on the $42 in savings if you take too long to complete your purchase. If you think this is the standing desk for you, we recommend buying it right now.

Why you should buy the Flexispot electronic standing desk
The Flexispot electronic standing desk can adjust its height to anywhere between 28 inches and 47.6 inches through its motor lift mechanism that you can access through the two-button controller at the corner of the table. It stays pretty quiet as it moves up or down, and you can go through the full range of the standing desk in less than 10 seconds. Moving from a sitting position to a standing position that quickly will make sure that you maximize the benefits of the Flexispot electronic standing desk, including being able to stretch your spine every once in a while over the course of the day.

Read more
Nectar’s Memorial Day sale gets you up to 40% off its Memory Foam mattress
The Nectar Memory Foam Mattress displayed in a bedroom setting on a wooden pedestal bed.

Nectar has a huge Memorial Day sale which is perfect for anyone who’s been keen to buy a Nectar mattress but wants to save some money along the way. Pair it up with one of the best Eight Sleep alternatives and you’re all set for a great night’s sleep. With up to 40% off many mattresses, you only have a matter of hours left to enjoy the discounts. The best thing to do is hit the button below to see what’s out there for yourself, but you can also keep reading and we’ll talk about what our highlights are. Remember -- in all cases you only have a handful of hours left to decide.

What to shop for in the Nectar Mattress sale
The highlight of the Nectar Mattress sale is the . Its Queen Size model is down to just $649 right now and has a heap of great benefits. It offers premium memory foam which cradles your body and keeps you cool. It’s made from CertiPUR-US certified foams with a 12-inch height and single-action cooling. Its layers are numerous. There’s a breathable cooling cover, therapeutic gel memory foam layer, 3-inch Dynamic transition layer, 7-inch ActiveSupport stability base layer, along with a shift-resistant lower cover. That leads to a cool-to-the-touch and breathable cover so there’s more airflow and comfort, while there’s minimal motion transfer for your sleep partner.

Read more
Costco Memorial Day deal: Get a year’s membership for $40
The front facade of a Costco store.

If you like the convenience and wholesale prices of Costco, you have to remember that there's something extra you'll need: A membership card. Unfortunately, it isn't quite as simple as signing up for your local library, either, as you have to pay to play. Right now, however, you can get these memberships highly discounted on a weird technicality — a digital shop card. At the end of the day, you can get a Gold Star membership for just $40, $20 down from the $60 it usually costs, or an Executive Gold Star membership for just $80, $40 down from the $120 it usually costs. Tap the button below to see if you can figure it out yourself, or keep reading for our explanation of the sale.

Why you should buy the Costco membership deal
If you're aware of Costco, then you'll know that you really need a membership to do most things with the company. That makes this very unlike, for example, the Best Buy Memorial Day sale where a membership to Best Buy Plus might save you some extras. With Costco, the membership card is very important. And this deal is a great way to get one for a technical discount. If you quality to get the card on this deal — you live in the USA or Puerto Rico and haven't been a Costco member in the past 18 months — you'll also get a digital Costco Shop Card, a sort of gift card. Since you're already planning on shopping at Costco at this point, anyhow, this is a technical discount. Now, all that remains is to pick your tier: Gold Star or Executive Gold Star.

Read more