How high-tech Kasita microhomes could revolutionize homeownership

March 17, 2017 by  
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America’s affordable housing crisis is squeezing people out of cities, but one Harvard researcher believes he’s developed a beautiful and high-tech solution to the problem. In 2015, Jeff Wilson—also known as “Professor Dumpster” after his year-long dumpster living experiment—unveiled Kasita , a smart microhousing startup that aims at disrupting the housing market with prefabricated tiny homes that can pop up just about anywhere. After a couple years in development, Wilson just debuted the Kasita microhouse at SXSW this week with the announcement that the tiny stackable homes will be ready for nationwide delivery in June. Stylish, smart, and space-saving, the 352-square-foot (33 square meter) Kasita mobile home offers a beautiful split-level living space that uses transforming furniture , white walls, and ten-foot-high ceilings to make its small footprint feel airy and spacious. Most impressively, the home is outfitted with ultra-modern amenities and home automation such as the dynamic curtain-less windows that can be turned opaque with a smartphone app to the Amazon Alexa-powered lighting modes. The high-tech stackable homes can be moved around with a crane, placed virtually anywhere, and can be prefabricated in as little as three weeks. https://vimeo.com/207700762 Envisioned for installation in unused areas of land like vacant parking lots, the Kasita aims to keep land lease costs low by taking advantage of undevelopable real estate in prime urban areas. The flexibility and modularity of the Kasitas lend themselves for use as apartments, multi-family homes, student housing, workforce housing, and more. Related: Meet the Texas Professor Who Lives in a Dumpster The Kasita comes fully equipped with all the traditional home amenities—including a walk-in shower, fridge, convection oven, washer/dryer, cooktop, and queen-sized bed—as well as lots of space-saving storage and access to natural light. Each unit costs $139,000, which according to Wilson’s calculations comes out to an estimated $800 monthly mortgage not including land lease costs. Interested customers can pay $1,000 to hold a spot on the waitlist for preorders. + Kasita

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How high-tech Kasita microhomes could revolutionize homeownership

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

New experimental architecture school to be built near reclaimed area of Aarhus, Denmark

March 17, 2017 by  
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For over 50 years, the Aarhus School of Architecture in Denmark has been housed in a not-so-temporary location. But now the experimental school is about to get a major upgrade in a beautiful, sustainable new facility designed by Vargo Nielsen Palle , ADEPT , and Rolvung og Brøndsted . Not only is the school designed to inspire students, but to engage the local community as well. The new Aarhus School of Architecture is meant to be an experimental laboratory serving as a bridge between students and the city, with facilities for learning and community use. It’s right next to Aarhus’ Green Wedge, a reclaimed area once used for industrial purposes that was transformed into an open landscape. Passive and active ventilation clear the air inside, and optimized daylight conditions ensure an excellent working space inside the 139,930-square-foot building. Related: LEED Gold-seeking Santa Monica science facility uses architecture to teach students about sustainability Flexible spaces comprising workshops , studios, and public areas offer opportunities for experimentation inside the industrial structure. Vargo Nielsen Palle said in a statement, “When given the right tools and opportunity, people engage their surroundings…The school should not just be an institution for architecture – it should continue this open laboratory, sharing its tools and programs with the public to create opportunities for the informal evolution of architecture.” Aarhus School of Architecture rector Torben Nielsen said, “It is a powerful project that interweaves with its surroundings…It will be a factory for architectural experimentation that will set the stage for cooperation with the city, the profession, and our neighbors – just as we wanted.” Vargo Nielsen Palle, ADEPT, and Rolvung og Brøndsted designed the school together with engineering companies Tri-Consult and Steensen Varming . They won an international competition entered by heavy hitters like BIG and SANAA . The new school is expected to be complete in 2020. + Vargo Nielsen Palle + ADEPT + Rolvung og Brøndsted Via Aarhus School of Architecture Images courtesy of Vargo Nielsen Palle, ADEPT, and Rolvung og Brøndsted

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New experimental architecture school to be built near reclaimed area of Aarhus, Denmark

Meet the Texas Professor Who Lives in a Dumpster (PHOTOS)

February 27, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Meet the Texas Professor Who Lives in a Dumpster (PHOTOS) Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “energy efficiency” , alternative energy , american homes , austin , Design , designing small spaces , dumpster man , dumpster photos , eco design , green is the new black , Huston Tillotson University , Professor Dumpster , sustainable design , texas , texas professor who lives in a dumpster , tiny home movement , tiny houses , water issues        

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Meet the Texas Professor Who Lives in a Dumpster (PHOTOS)

“Professor Dumpster” to Live Out of a Texas Garbage Can for an Entire Year

October 14, 2013 by  
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What makes a home? Four walls and a roof? Some nice furnishings? Maybe some indoor plumbing? For Dr. Jeff Wilson, an environmental science professor in Texas, a home can be made in something as unconventional as a dumpster. Part of a unique university experiment, the Dumpster Project aims to reveal how it’s possible to live in a dumpster for an entire year without all of the amenities modern Americans have grown so accustomed to. Read the rest of “Professor Dumpster” to Live Out of a Texas Garbage Can for an Entire Year Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: austin , dumpster , Dumpster Project , garbage , green living , home , Huston Tillotson University , Jeff Wilson , net zero , Sustainable Building , sustainable living , texas , Trash Heap , University Research        

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“Professor Dumpster” to Live Out of a Texas Garbage Can for an Entire Year

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