House Design

Are these Japanese-inspired, energy-efficient homes the future of homebuilding?

These new developments aim to prioritize green space, community and good design

House by Urban Splash Town House at Port Loop
(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

As appealing as the thought of a brand-new home undoubtedly is, the dreary vision of a featureless housing estate with densely packed rows of identikit properties and a long drive to the nearest schools, shops and restaurants is enough to keep many of us tied to our smaller, imperfect city pads. 

Often, therefore, it’s a toss-up between a cramped home in a connected community – where inventive storage solutions are mandatory and the kitchen table is where we work, eat, hobby, and hang out with our children, versus more living space but with it a sense of isolation and a reliance on our cars. It’s no surprise that the former often wins, hands-down. 

So we were intrigued to come across another option. 

See: Eco home improvements – how to make your house greener

Urban House eco homes

A configurable modern townhouse. Two or three storeys with a range of configurable options for every kind of household

(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

House by Urban Splash is a unique concept in housebuilding that delivers architect-designed, flexible, sustainable homes in joined-up, community-focused neighborhoods. Driven by an ethos it calls Live Well By Design, the developer is creating dynamic places to live with connectivity at their heart.

Urban House eco homes

Mansion House apartments offer a choice of one or two bedrooms, and a range of bathroom and kitchen configurations so you can configure an apartment to suit your way of life

(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

Urban House eco homes

(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

Decisively doing away with the featureless suburban estate stereotype, House says its communities like Port Loop in Birmingham, New Islington in Manchester and Inholm in Cambridge – all in the UK – combine vibrant, beautifully designed, sustainable neighbourhoods with easy access – ideally on foot or by bike – to city centers. 

Small independent cafes, arts initiatives, cycling clubs and community events bring these places to life, while proximity to water and biodiverse communal gardens planted with local species in alignment with the Japanese landscaping concept ‘gohon no ki’ provide the space to play, exercise and breathe.

Urban House eco homes

(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)
  • See: The world's most beautiful eco houses – from forest dwellings to city homes

Urban House eco homes


(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

Architects shedkm and Glenn Howells Architects bring design credibility and sense of variety to the neighborhoods. 

Town House is a spacious two- or three-story home which buyers can configure to suit their needs – open plan, multi-room or a combination across each floor creating their own layouts via House’s online design tool. 

See: Rainwater harvesting – how to conserve a precious resource for use at home

Row House is a modern mews house which can be specified with a roof terrace, and Mansion House offers contemporary dual-aspect apartments with one or two bedrooms. Huge windows bring natural light and space is absolutely key, so buyers can swap their crowded kitchen table for a home office, and their overstuffed under-bed storage for a walk-in wardrobe.

With a mission to enable people to 'be green without trying', House neighborhoods are all about low carbon living, with energy-efficient homes, green transport options and shared services, right down to their sustainable methods of producing and constructing the homes.

Urban House eco homes

(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

This level of innovation is made possible by House being a collaboration between UK developer Urban Splash and Seksui House

Pretty much unknown in the UK, Seksui House originated in Osaka in the 1960s and has grown into Japan’s biggest housebuilder. Founded on an uncompromising design philosophy, environmental agenda and commitment to customising homes around lifestyle, it’s now the global leader in the construction of net-zero-energy homes.  

See: Eco heating – from heat pumps to boilers and furnaces

Urban House eco homes

Port Loop: a 43-acre waterside neighbourhood, including over 1,000 homes, a community hub, commercial office spaces, a new leisure centre, a new swimming pool and a new public green space in Birmingham

(Image credit: House by Urban Splash)

See: Eco cooling – sustainable air conditioning for your home

Graham Miller, who lives in a Town House at Port Loop with his partner Jac Doody, sums it up: 'Honestly, the community at Port Loop is just amazing and there’s always an excuse to leave the house and enjoy the outdoor space. We love how light all the rooms are. It’s different from everything else on offer in Birmingham and we absolutely love living here.'

Jennifer Ebert
Jennifer Ebert

Jennifer is the Digital Editor at Homes & Gardens. Having worked in the interiors industry for a number of years, spanning many publications, she now hones her digital prowess on the 'best interiors website' in the world. Multi-skilled, Jennifer has worked in PR and marketing, and the occasional dabble in the social media, commercial and e-commerce space. 


Over the years, she has written about every area of the home, from compiling design houses from some of the best interior designers in the world to sourcing celebrity homes, reviewing appliances and even the odd news story or two.