Ikea Enters U.K.’s Prefab Housing Market

April 18, 2007

By Dianna Dilworth

Ikea is expanding its BoKlok prefab housing line to serve the United Kingdom. Last month, it received planning permission for 36 dwellings in St. James Village, Gateshead. Live Smart@Home, a subsidiary of the Home property group, will oversee construction.

The name BoKlok means “smart living” in Swedish. Since it started the line with Skanska in 1997, Ikea has built 3,500 of these prefab dwellings through Scandinavia, Norway, and Finland. BoKlok apartments are designed much like the retail giant’s furniture: a modern aesthetic that includes engineered wood floors and tiled bathrooms. All of the apartments are designed with open-plan living spaces with high ceilings and windows on three sides; they also come fitted with Ikea kitchens.

Images courtesy Home Architectural Services

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Individual BoKlok apartments are composed of two modular units, which in turn are made of timber framing and an insulated, closed panel system developed by Pace Timber Systems. Units arrive on site with their interiors already installed; the roof, exterior walls, and plumbing must be added afterward. A typical BoKlok building is an L-shaped, two-story structure containing three apartments on each floor. These L-shaped buildings are grouped together to form a semi-enclosed courtyard.

In the U.K., BoKlok apartments will come in two- or three-bedroom configurations and sell for under $200,000. They are aimed at people earning less than $60,000 annually. Work on the 36 units is scheduled to begin this June and finish by the end of the year. Live Smart@Home has future plans to build an additional 117 terraced BoKlok houses at the Gateshead site.



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