Minimalist prefab home hides a sculptural light-filled interior

March 17, 2017 by  
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Berrel Berrel Kräutler Architekten designed a minimal prefabricated house with a modest appearance that belies a sculptural interior. Located in Rodersdorf, Switzerland, this single-family home has a deceptively simple design with its gabled roof and facade clad in metal and timber. The interior is divided into four levels with split-levels that maximize space and access to natural light. Constructed with a timber frame , the 172-square-meter home sits high on a slope overlooking views across the Alsatian landscape. The asymmetrical gabled roof and shape of the home, which steps down on the landscape, was designed to meet local building code specifications. To make the most of the slope change, the architects added split-levels and inserted a wooden shell mounted beneath the roof. Like a house-within-a-house concept, the wooden shell houses the two upper floors and is accessible via a set of minimalist wooden stairs. Related: Ant House hides an innovative wood interior behind a metal-clad cube in Japan The over-height space below the suspended wooden shell is the highlight of the home. Bathed in natural light from a skylight and full-height window that overlooks the outdoors, the over-height space connects to the ground floor via a slight level change . The ground floor contains the entrance, cloakroom, kitchen, dining area, living room, and lounge, all of which appear to be seamlessly connected through precise carpentry work. The fluid connections between the different spaces, from the partly sunken basement level to the topmost floor cradled in the timber shell, gives the home a sculptural quality. + Berrel Berrel Kräutler Architekten Via ArchDaily Images © Eik Frenzel

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Minimalist prefab home hides a sculptural light-filled interior

Students use rice husks to build affordable homes in the Philippines

March 17, 2017 by  
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Rice husks used to be considered a waste product good for nothing but fire or landfills, but now enterprising companies are beginning to realize their potential as a sustainable building material . A group of students from the Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering at University of California used waste rice husks to manufacture termite-resistant composite boards with help from a $75,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to develop and build affordable housing in the Philippines. In addition to protecting rice during the growing season, rice hulls can be put to use as building material, fertilizer, insulation material or fuel. The students at Riverside’s Bourns College of Engineering used it to manufacture boards ideal for building relief shelters and affordable housing. The Husk-to-Home team developed the project by environmental engineering student Colin Eckerle who has been working on it since 2014. However, the rice husk boards last longer. The students received a two-year grant by EPA which will pay for manufacturing equipment and space and allow the team to go into full-scale production of the boards. In the design, the rice husks—a waste product of rice milling– replace commonly used woodchips. They are a great alternative to plywood, bamboo and coconut wood. Eckerle claims the board will cost about $7 for a 4 ft. x 8 ft. board—the same as the plywood boards currently used by IDEA. A recycled high density polyethylene (HDPE), also a waste product , binds the rice husks together and provides strength and resistance to humidity. Related: Modules Made from Material Waste Form Furniture, Walls and Rooms “While it has taken a lot of trial and error to get a material that is strong and consistent enough to build homes with, we have finally reached a point where we can produce a prototype board that is comparable in terms of strength to commercially available particleboard,” Eckerle said. “Our tests have shown that termites will not eat rice husk or our building material, which will increase the lifespan of the houses in the Philippines ”. + Bourns College of Engineering Lead photo by C IAT International Center for Tropical Agriculture via Flickr

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Students use rice husks to build affordable homes in the Philippines

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