large spheres
Sarah Biren
Sarah Biren
January 3, 2024 ·  4 min read

This Living Pod Could Replace Your Apartment, Costs Only $24,000 And Takes Just A Day To Install

The housing situation in the UK is dire. Not only is there widespread homelessness, but people with low incomes also can’t afford payments every month. [1] People graduating from university and embarking into adult life, for example, do not have the resources to live on their own. However, this former Rolls-Royce engineer came up with a solution specifically for this demographic: a living pod. 

The Conker: The Future of Affordable Living 

Jag Virdie designed what he called The Conker, a small cubicle-like space for people to live in. However, Virdie explains that it’s more than just that. On his website, he writes, “Take the best that exists and make it better. When it does not exist, design it.” 

The Conker is shaped like a soccer ball, or in the UK, a football. The living pod is 3.9 m in diameter and has a carpet area of 10 square meters. It’s made of entirely British materials so no importing goods are necessary, which reduces the costs. Despite the small size and affordability, the pod has an efficient heat-retention system and is completely waterproof. Its features also include an underfloor heating system, a ventilation system with an air filter, a heat recovery system, a secure locking system, and power sockets, including USB sockets. 

“It’s suitable for use in even very remote locations, where, because of its four minimal anchor points, it has almost zero impact upon the ground in which it is set,” said Virdie.  

“The spherical design allows for a natural run-off when it rains and no, or very small, foundations ensure zero impact on natural drainage.  For the occupiers, a heat-exchange pump ensures a comfortable maintained temperature and a constant flow of fresh air, which really aids sleep and optimizes the body’s metabolism.” [2] 

How to Customize the Conker Living Pod

Not only that, but the Conker is customizable and requires only one day to install. “Our mission is to change the way buildings are designed today,” said Virdie, “by disrupting the norm, challenging construction practices at their core.”  

The living pod can also be connected to other pods to create more “rooms” aside from the installed bathroom and kitchenette. The Conker could be a great option for young people who crave privacy, especially as they transition into adulthood. Many bookworms who saw these pods immediately imagine it as the perfect, cozy reading spot. 

“We aspire to bring automotive and aerospace engineering standards to the construction industry,” says Conker’s official website. “By using these principles, we have already achieved and exceeded building regulations multiple times. In addition, our collaboration with Keele University has brought a new framework into play where the building is designed around the user, rather than the other way around. This is known as ‘User Centered Design’ which allows us to be efficient in design from the onset.” [3] 

How Jag Virdie Designed the Conker 

Virdie began his career in automotive design and engineering with Rolls-Royce Bentley then eventually set up his own freelance design business in 2010. He designed the Conker originally as a spherical treehouse for his kids. With his previous car-designing skills, he created a living pod that could aid with the current UK housing crisis. It costs a one-time price of $24,000, which is low when considering the rent of an average middle-class family.  

“The Conker was born in 2015 through the knowledge that a building should be beautiful, aerodynamic, strong and versatile,” says its website. “We envisaged a contemporary, state of the art, desirable environment which could be adapted and personalized without limitation. A sphere was the natural choice due to its streamlined and structural properties.” 

Virdie considers the current Conker as his starting point. “We’re looking at smaller ones and much larger ones that will be three bedrooms inside and even a full house, and all the foundation you require is the four legs, so you don’t need to disrupt the ground. Because of the shape of it, there’s no maintenance on the outside and you can even update it when you want by requesting new panels.” 

Read: Project combines hemp and solar to go totally off grid

How to Order a Conker Living Pod

There are three options of the kind of Conker available: the plug-in, the off-the grid, and the plug-in hybrid version.  

Here’s how to buy one:  

  1. Register  
  1. Check the location 
  1. Customize the Conker to your individual tastes [4] 

The Conker can be an office space, a bedroom, a lab, a play area, a sitting room, attach multiple living pods to each other, and be suited to many different environments.  

It’s a simple innovation that could potentially aid the modern world of inflation and population rise. Conker and similar sustainable housing solutions are needed to improve the issue of rising homeless population or others in a need of housing. The potential uses could be unlimited.  

For example, Virdie has been contacted quite quickly by a family who’d like a Conker for an elderly relative with Alzheimer’s. It could create a safe, familiar space for him while he could live close to his family.  

Keep Reading: Take Glamping to the Next Level with This mansion-like Tent That’s Bigger than Most Apartments

[1] “280,000 people in England are homeless, with thousands more at risk.” England Shelter. December 18, 2019 

[2] “Introducing The Conker.” Glamping Business. July 27, 2018 

[3] “Conker Living – could this be the living space design of the future?” Cheshire Life. July 3, 2018 

[4] The Conker: How to Order. Conker Living Official Website