The Oxley Woods Prefab Housing Development In London.


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Well, that sure didn’t last long. Just 8 days after talking about not being able to find worthwhile prefab houses to cover, the new issue of Dwell shows up in the mailbox with a little story about “EcoHats” and a prefab development in London called Oxley Woods. This is a pretty big community made up of panelized structures that are built off-site, transported, filled with recycled-paper insulation, and put together in about seven days. Not bad, huh? Especially not for about $121,000 U.S. dollars!


The buildings vary in size from 700 to 1,615 square feet and can have as many as 5 bedrooms. To minimize expenses and to help the homes run more efficiently, all service areas (kitchen, bath, etc) are standard and centrally located in each model. The picture above is of the entire development.


The best part of these homes is the EcoHat that each one has, which is a solar array that is hidden in a box atop each home. The solar panels in the boxes heats air and sends it into the house for heating the home, or it can be used to heat hot water. That surely solves the “I think solar is ugly” argument.

Check out the Oxley Woods development for more info on the houses.

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  1. We purchased one of the Oxley Woods eco houses in the summer of 2008, for several reasons, both design and environmental, and have had a serious roller coaster of a ride so far, lots of good, and an awful lot of bad too!

    Love the design, love the idea, but the execution, certainly in our case, leaves a lot to be desired I’m afraid.

  2. Dear Paul,

    I am a Canadian who is excited about the opportunity to build the system as in RSH+P/Newton Wood JV and bring it to Canada.

    I am traveling to London to meet the architects.
    Please share with me your concerns as to the ” roller coaster” and awful bad please.



  3. As a builder pursuing the concept of a modern, pre-fab, co-housing development I would also be interested in the feedback from a buyer of a similar system.

    For example, what do you mean by, …”the execution, certainly in our case, leaves a lot to be desired”….?

    It is important that forward thinking projects do not get mired in the pitfalls of mass production while maintaining the cost/waste advantages of such a system.

  4. I’ve been trying to reply here with a little bit of trouble, apologies for not responding sooner.

    Basically the problems with the properties (and ours in particular) seem to be in the design and construction, focusing mostly on the window areas.

    Since July last year we have suffered from rainwater penetrating the building in several locations, and this is still ongoing and has the site manager “baffled”.

    It seems there are inherent design and/or manufacturing issues with the window frames (which are now on their third clearly visible revision on the development) and the area around the windows where there is, by design, no flashing or additional weatherproofing.

    The eco hats also offer very little by way of “hot water” when and if you pay for the passive solar upgrade as we did. According to Nuaire (the manufacturer/supplier) at best they “take the edge off” the cold water, meaning it takes less energy to heat it back up. We’re not entirely convinced it does even that to be honest, the temperature readouts seem quite dubious.

    Feel free to visit my blog (click my name for a link) and email me directly if you have other questions. We’re very saddened by this as we want this sort of development to become much more the “norm”, and we love the principals of the development, but it just isn’t working out for us at all.

  5. I went to Oxley Woods today. It’s fantastic but it’s not in London. It’s in Milton keynes which is about 40 miles away.

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