August 20, 2015
With our world changing so fast we have to learn to be flexible... and so does our housing.
The concept of flexible housing has its roots in the innovative Grow Home developed in 1990 by Avi Friedman and Witold Rybczynski at Montreal’s McGill University School of Architecture. Designed to be affordable, the Grow Home incorporated flexible and adaptable living spaces within a small footprint.
Building on this concept, in 1995 Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) created FlexHousing™ as part of the universal/inclusive design movement. The objectives of universal housing are the following:
- Allow people to occupy their homes for longer periods of time;
- Create housing that meets a wide range of needs; and
- Improve the convenience of a home for its occupants.
How the Flexible Design Concept Works
Flexible housing is achieved through planning, design, and construction or renovation. Forethought and careful consideration of possible future needs are required at the design stage to permit maximum flexibility, at the least cost, in the living spaces over time.
Everyone Benefits from a Flexible Home
A flexible home is an ideal choice for everyone as needs change over time in response to personal circumstances such as aging, changing health conditions, and household composition and income changes. In addition to being well-suited to meet the needs of an aging population and people with disabilities and other special needs, flexible housing is also a good choice for multi-generational living or for households which will need a future home office, or an independent suite for a family member, caregiver, or tenant. Additionally, as well-designed flexible housing is better prepared to adapt to a broad range of needs, it can appeal to a wider range of buyers on eventual resale.
Flexible Housing Is an Affordable Option
Although flexible housing may initially cost slightly more than a conventional house, it can offer significant savings compared to the costs of demolition and renovation at a future date. The incremental costs of flexible housing features can be less than the cost of relocating when all related expenses, such as packing, moving, new furnishings and appliances, commissions and various fees are factored in.
For more information read, Sustainable Housing and Communities — Flexible Housing