Wednesday, February 6, 2008

The Cardboard House

The Cardboard House represents the reduction of technology and the simplification of needs. By demonstrating that we are able to recycle 100% of the building components at extremely low cost, the Cardboard House is a direct challenge to the housing industry to reduce housing and environmental costs.
Stutchbury and Pape, working in association with the Ian Buchan Fell Housing Research Unit at University of Sydney, see this project as a genuine temporary housing option.
A cardboard house places the least demand on resources and encourages people to shift their preconceptions about the “typical Australian house”. Many Australians enjoy camping on their holidays, easily shifting their lifestyle from the rigidity of the urban home to the freedom of the campsite.
Being extremely low cost and transportable, the Cardboard House could be used in a wide variety of applications. You could live in one while your permanent house is being built or renovated, for emergency housing, or for short-term accommodation.

Why choose cardboard?

Cardboard is not a traditional building material, however the introduction of innovative bonding, cutting and structural techniques has provided the opportunity to consider this lightweight and recyclable material in a more creative fashion.
All the material in the house is recycled, and recyclable, making it an excellent environmentally sustainable option for housing. The Carboard House is made of recycled carboard supplied by Visy Industries. This is completed with a waterproof roof made from HDPE plastic, which also forms the material of the flexible under-floor water tanks and the novel kitchen and bathroom 'pods'.

How it all goes together

The Cardboard House is conceived as a kit of parts comprising a flat pack of frames, and infill floor and wall panels. It uses minimal fixings: nylon wing nuts, hand-tightened polyster tape stays and Velcro fastenings are used to assemble the frames and protective skin system.
The building can be assembled by two people over a six-hour period using appropriate scaffolding, and is transportable in a light commercial vehicle.
A series of repetitive portal frames are both spaced and stabilised by a standardised secondary structure, similar to the interlocking spacer sheets found in wine boxes. Once assembled, the structure provides a creative architectural frame from which the house derives its aesthetic.
Fixed and moveable furnishings, floor systems, door and opening frames, lighting and other services all relate to the structure and layout.
The roof covering is a lightweight material that is as transportable as the structure. Similar to a tent fly, the roof fabric assists in holding down the building, providing a diffuse light in the day and a glowing box at night.
Water is collected in bladders underneath the floor which double as ballast to hold down the lightweight building.
A composting toilet system produces nutrient-rich water for gardening.
Low-voltage lighting can be powered using a 12-volt car battery or small photovoltaic cells mounted on the roof framing.

What are the implications for the future of housing?

The Architects see this project as a genuine housing option. Extremely low cost, transportable, lightweight and flexible, this building could be used in a variety of widespread applications. The Cardboard House is seen as a prototype that may serve to meet future housing in a way that is responsible and beautiful.

Historical or theoretical precedents

Paper and cardboard have been used to construct domestic housing in Japan for many centuries, where rice paper (shoji) was both cheap and safe in earthquake prone regions. Folded cardboard (origami) was also used for lightweight enclosures, simulating paper sculpture.
Contemporary Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has used tubular and flat cardboard to great effect for housing, civic buildings, large exhibition pavilions and emergency shelters.
In Australia, pioneering work was carried out at the University of New South Wales by Vincent Sedlack, and just last year Adriano Pupilli, an honours student at the University of Sydney, designed and built a full-size bay of a 5-bedroom house with Col James. This attracted local attention and directly led to the invitation to showcase cardboard as a potential building material in the future.

1 comment:

Tiago said...

It seems that this projects looks great but without the government support they end up reduced to a small part of the society, usually the wealthy or more eronmentally concerned. In fact, I saw many green estructures around the world, since apartment in buenos aires to houses in Canada, but nowhere used extensively.