Walk through any major city, look up and you will see towering cranes, scaffolding and the skeletons of buildings under construction.
In 2013 the U.S. construction market was worth nearly $899 billion, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, while in London, Europe's largest city, over 26,000 new homes were registered, an increase of 60 percent on the year before, according to the National House Building Council.
With the demand for urban housing only set to increase, innovation and technology are driving change in the construction sector. Y:Cube Housing is the result of a partnership between the YMCA and Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP), the global architecture practice.
In a climate where house – and rental – prices are rocketing, the idea behind Y:Cube is to offer affordable, low-cost housing in stackable 'clusters' of 24 to 40 units.
Read MoreWaterproof cells? The future's here
Costing just £30,000 ($50,000) to build, a single occupancy Y:Cube home is 26m² and designed to be used on urban brownfield sites. It is hoped that Y:Cube – which does not need foundations – will offer a real alternative to current housing options, providing a rapid, sustainable, flexible and compact solution to people's needs.
"It comes fully finished internally and externally… it just needs connecting up," Andrew Partridge, project architect for Y:Cube, told CNBC.com in a phone interview.
"These buildings take a week to build, and they'll take an hour to install," Ivan Harbour, Senior Partner, RSHP, told episode three of CNBC's Industrial Revolutions. "They are made offsite, so all the money's spent on the materiality, not on management on site. These are super cost effective buildings," he added.
According to recent figures from Gumtree, the listings site, it costs just over £1,200 per month to rent a one bedroom flat in London. It is envisaged that renting a Y:Cube will cost half the amount of conventional private accommodation.
"We deliberately wanted to move away from having to deal with traditional developers, or house builders," Andy Redfearn, Director of Housing and Development at the YMCA, told CNBC.com in a phone interview.