27 August 2014

For a little more than a week, Shantae Whyte has been sleeping, cooking and hanging out with friends in the Y:Cube prototype outside YMCA Wimbledon. When she moved out from the Y:Cube on Tuesday 6th May, the 22 year old was sad to replace the big, comfortable bed; the quiet atmosphere and the spacious living room in the Y:Cube prototype for her regular, small room in the YMCA Wimbledon hostel.

Whilst staying in the Y:Cube, Shantae has been taking notes on everything from the heating and insulation, to the functionality of the furniture and the interior design. The aim is to use Shantae’s feedback on the prototype to improve the design and functionality of Y:Cube, making it even more ideal for the residents who will be moving in to the first Y:Cube housing scheme, which will be installed in Mitcham later this year.

This is what Shantae says about her week living in the Y:Cube:

YCube-Shantae-Whyte-2“Staying in the Y:Cube prototype has been a great experience. Y:Cube has everything you can ask for. At night you can hardly hear the traffic outside, even if the prototype is situated on a car park next to the main road. Y:Cube was always the right temperature for me and I loved resting my feet on the underfloor heating pads. Every time I walked in, I was reminded about the homely feel of it.

I cooked about five times in the kitchen; each time trying a different tactic to manoeuvre around the things so I could cook efficiently. There isn’t much storage space throughout the Y:Cube, but with some minor adjustment that could be sorted. A few other things I would change personally to make the Y:Cube even more ideal would be to add more storage space in the kitchen and to install the stove separate from the kitchen sink, as the surface get a bit too warm to touch.

Other suggestions for improvements are more cupboards and shelves in the kitchen area, as people will need somewhere to put their ingredients. Also, I think Y:Cube needs a fridge with a bigger freezer space. My experience from staying in the prototype also shows that, for better functionality, the safety lock (the hook) on the window should be placed at the bottom of the window instead of the side.

As for the bathroom, the door that leads into it from the bedroom should slide as that would be more space efficient. Also, the cabinet needs to be placed higher because I bumped my head twice! The sink could also be a bit bigger.

One final thing I miss is a bit more space in the bedroom, so that I can move my bed around and place things elsewhere.

I genuinely believe this project will help the housing situation in this country, because it can be placed anywhere. Also, it doesn’t take months to build like normal houses. It’s efficient and everyone can benefit from this.

Living in Y:Cube for a week, I’ve had positive responses from passers by who are intrigued to know what the bright red box is about and what is going to happen next. This is the future for the homeless, because we need a quick resort to get back on our feet and make something of ourselves.

And this project gives us hope that one day we will be able to get out own dream home.

But being only a prototype, the Y:Cube still has a few issues that needs solving before it can live up to all the other accommodation types out there and I hope my suggestions can help in that respect.
It has definitely been a great experience to be part of this and I thank everyone who is involved with making the project a success. I really look forward to see the first Y:Cube Housing scheme being installed in April next year!”

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