Wednesday, 13 December 2017

A solution to our housing problems: build anywhere

A rather nice coffee table book has just come out in time for Christmas:
Nomadic Homes. Architecture on the move - TASCHEN Books

Radical homes for international nomads - CNN Style

The writer gives us a tour in the i-newspaper:

Homes for nomads: beautiful houses you can build anywhere

(Carl Turner Architects/TASCHEN)

Friday December 1st 2017

It should be no surprise that the word “nomad” has ancient origins. It comes from the Latin nomad via the Greek word nomás, which refers to pasturing flocks, or némein meaning to pasture, or to graze. Nomadic hunting and gathering, following seasonally available wild plants and game, is by far the oldest human subsistence method. In fact, until 10,000 years ago, all modern humans were hunter-gatherers. Put even more simply, humans were nomads for 99 percent of the period of their known existence on earth.

Today, from the richest to the poorest inhabitants of the planet, and on to those who one day hope to colonize other planets, nomadic housing of one form or another is more the rule than the exception. With housing in general being hard to come by, what is called “manufactured housing” offers the possibility of ownership and residence to people who cannot afford to build their own home on site. Others can afford to spend 1.5 million euros on a bus that can be their very own motor home.

The nomadic spirit of our ancestors the hunter-gatherers is very much alive in the modern world. Where architecture has often sought stability and thus the lack of movement, modernity has brought a sense of the finite, and a good deal of modesty about posterity and longevity. What more contemporary thought could there be than to seek nothing so much as to move, to grow perhaps, but always to move.

“A good traveller,” said the ancient Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu “has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving.” It is the journey that counts, the point of arrival for all is exactly the same.

Floating House (top)
Carl Turner
UK, 2016

The architects proposed this Floating House as a result of the increasing likelihood of flooding. They have aimed to make the residence carbon neutral and self-sufficient. The structure could be on piles or on a floating pontoon. The “hull” of the residence would be made by a contractor and shuttering could be manufactured with CNC milling.

They state: “The solid timber structure can be ordered from a CLT (Cross Laminated Timber) manufacturer, who can then build it on site in just one to two weeks. Windows can be supplied and fitted by the manufacturer and people can choose to what extent they wish to Do It Themselves and customize the design of their new home.”

To be built with concrete, steel, cross-laminated timber, polycarbonate, and plywood for the furniture, the plans of the house are available on the open source site paperhouses.co.

Sweden, 2015

Ecocapsule is a self-sustainable, intelligent micro-home that uses solar and wind energy. It allows people to live in remote places out of reach of infrastructure, while retaining a high level of living comfort.

It can be used as a cottage, a pop-up hotel, caravan, or even as a charging station for electric cars.

The ellipsoid shape of Ecocapsule is designed to maximise the collection of rainwater and dew. The design of the outer shell also minimises energy loss. Hollow walls filled with highly efficient thermal insulation protect inhabitants from harsh environments and help achieve a performance almost on the level of a passive house.

The Ecocapsule is optimised for easy transportation. It can fit into a standard shipping container. A specially designed trailer enables transport of the Ecocapsule with a passenger car, turning it into a fully functional caravan.

In an urban environment, the small dwelling can readily be placed on a rooftop. The Ecocapsule is 4.7m long, 2.2m wide and 2.5m tall (5.2m tall with the extended wind turbine pole).

The capsule weighs 1300kg when empty and 1700kg with full water tanks.

The wind turbine provides approximately 750W, the solar panels on the rooftop around 600W. The battery capacity is 9 kWh. The Ecocapsule body is made of fiberglass, overlaid on a steel frame and filled with polyurethane foam insulation

Homes for nomads: beautiful houses you can build anywhere - The i newspaper online iNews

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