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€7,000 circular home built using corn cobs


August 7, 2012

Architectural firm St André-Lang has designed and built a compact circular housing prototype that incorporates corn cobs within the walls

Architectural firm St André-Lang has designed and built a compact circular housing prototype that incorporates corn cobs within the walls

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French architectural firm St. André-Lang has designed and built a compact circular housing prototype that incorporates corn cobs within the walls. The 20 square meter (215 square foot) pavilion style home is located in the protected parklands of Muttersholtz, France and recently won the Archi<20 competition for low-cost, environmentally-friendly architecture. “The total cost of the project was €7,000 [US$8,705],” St. André-Lang architect and co-creator Bastien Saint-André told Gizmag. “But we had some partners (carpenter, woodworker) – the real cost would be around €10,000 [US$12,435].”

Dubbed “Tourner autour du Ried,” the prototype home is designed in a circular shape, allowing sunlight to filter through the structure during the entire day. Following the sun’s daily east-to-west cycle, the roof features a central light shaft that illuminates living zones according to the needs of the different daily activities. For example, the sleeping quarters are located at the east, a work station and desk towards the south-east and an open living space located in the south. When considering the home’s sustainability “it is important to think [of] the position of the different spaces inside the house according to the orientation,” said Saint-André.

At the center of the home lies a central garden that is filled with local plant life, which allows nature to find its way into the home. “As the entire living space is centered on this inside patio, nature really enters into the inhabitant's life,” said Saint-André.

When devising the theme for the building, the architects wanted to come up with an unusual and innovative idea for the facade and were thus inspired to fill the walls with corn cobs. “We had in mind all those traditional corn dryers that you can find all along the Alsatian plain, in the north east of France,” Saint-André said. “Not innovative in a technical way, but more in a traditional way.”

Since the home is still in a prototype phase, the structure lacks weather proofing, electricity, plumbing and other living facilities such as a kitchen and bathroom. However, bearing in mind that the home took less than one month to build, the project takes a positive step forward towards future developments of low-cost sustainable homes.

Furthermore, St. André-Lang is currently looking to develop the concept on a bigger scale. “We're in contact with another landscape festival for reinterpreting the concept,” said Saint-André. "For the moment, no precise plans. But we're open to any opportunity!"

Source: St André-Lang Architectes via Archdaily

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

How would this house not be consumed by rodents?

Rolf Hawkins

"€7,000 circular home was built using corn cobs"

That's an utterly inaccurate/misleading title.

When one looks at the photos of the interior, it blatantly obvious that it's a shell, a shed, a shack, or maybe a gazebo(?). What it definitely IS NOT is a house.


So, this is actually a giant bird, insect and rodent feeder, right? They will smell it from 10 miles away :) I hope it comes free with earplugs or solar-powered noise reduction headphones because you'll need them to drown out the munching!

Haha! A lovely design but somewhat impratical, to say the least.

Cheers Steve

Airsoft-World Scotland

So it is a "house" made of wood and metal fence stuffed here and there with corn cobs with the grains still on them. Not impressed! Not even environmentally friendly or less wasteful then using food such as corn to produce biofuel.


8 grand for an unfinished 215 square foot SHED! STUPID!

PickleMan Pickles

There may have been a problem in translation, but those were ears of corn, not cobs. The cob is what is left after the kernels of corn are removed. What is the R rating of ears of corn?


Pathetic! Your average bum could do better and for virtually nothing using old tires and mud and an old box-spring or two with a plastic tarp over them for the roof. Fire, bugs, rats, birds, mice, mildew, and mold in the corn cob home. This is not fit to be a woodshed. Better off with a hole in the ground. That house would be hot in the summer and cold in the winter and would leak badly.

If you just made a "house" of cinder block with a concrete slab for the floor and roof with some clay in it for waterproofing the roof, it would cost less than half that.

Some ground-up Styrofoam and straw in the mortar and concrete and it might even insulate ok.

Heck, for that money you could get a shipping container designed to be refrigerated. That would be immeasurably better and there would be no construction involved.


I'll take an inflatable frame and shotcrete myself a small house and stick it in the woods somewhere. One of the dumber ideas I've seen.

David Armstrong

I have to agree with the consensus--it appears to be less house than it is an "artsy-fartsy" eco-green statement. If they weretruly interested in making a "prototype" as they stated, then they really should have shelled the corn first, and then maybe stucco-ed the outside and sheetrocked the inside; put in some amenities like a real, rain-proof roof, kitchen & head with running water, and perhaps a heating system (they might even have used one of those ultra-efficient heating stoves that burns SHELLED CORN). Rather than a viable alternative housing inovation, I think they just made an artistically interesting critter feeder. BTW, think about what's going to happen the first time it rains--all of that corn is going to start molding and rotting. Yeah, THAT'S the place I want to live...

Steve Montgomery

I just finished the construction of my micro-compact, energy efficient passive house, cylindrically shaped, which looks pretty much like this one. Same sunflower biomimicry concept, same arrangement of furniture inside. But I used conventional materials (brick and concrete). It has a living room, a kitchen and a bathroom. And I actually live in this house now. Also plan to add a wind turbine nearby and solar panels on the roof next year. Of course mine is not as esthetically pleasing as this one.

Student of Spatial Planing and Environmental sciences Belgrade, Serbia

Andreja Sinadinovic Vijatovic
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