Sustainable home can be built in four days using only a screwdriver


March 18, 2014

The Pop-Up House, by Multipod Studio (Photo: Elisabeth Montagnier)

The Pop-Up House, by Multipod Studio (Photo: Elisabeth Montagnier)

Image Gallery (28 images)

French architectural firm Multipod Studio recently unveiled a new sustainable house prototype that's lightweight, recyclable, and promises to be an inexpensive purchase and extremely efficient to run. The suitably-named Pop-Up House also boasts another notable selling-point: all that's required to assemble it is four day's patience and a standard electric screwdriver.

Pop-Up House measures a total of 150 sq m (1,614 sq ft), and the interior features a large combined open space that contains kitchen, dining and living room areas. Elsewhere in the home are two bathrooms, a master bedroom, two additional bedrooms, an office, and a terrace.

The structure is simple to build and comprises a spruce wood frame, laminate veneer wooden floor, and expanded polystyrene insulation blocks, and everything is held together using wood screws. Indeed, Multipod Studio states that no prior construction experience is necessary for assembly, likening the process to building with Lego.

Thanks to Pop-Up House's excellent insulation and airtight thermal envelope, no heating is necessary for the home, or at least, not while it is located in the generally balmy South of France. However, since it meets the very exacting Passivhaus energy standard, Pop-Up House is certain to be very efficient to heat, even in chillier climes.

At present, Pop-Up House is still in the prototype stage, so finer details on the home are lacking. A preliminary price is available though, and the home will set you back €30,000 (roughly US$41,000), which includes labor, but doesn't include finishing touches like waterproofing, electricity, and plumbing.

You can see an overview of the project in the video below.

Source: Pop-Up House

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road. All articles by Adam Williams

Beautiful, awesome concept. All the right stuff.

I just can't stand the easy use of the word "sustainable" any more. Too much sustainababble everywhere.

"Sustainable" would be: If all materials and all energy that went into the project could be re-generated / re-grown / re-gained within its projected life time. And without leaving a mess of waste in its wake.

Sure, this is not a pickup truck burning a tank of gas (=energy made over 50000 years) in just a few hours. But still, to call something like this sustainable I'd love to see the manufacturer having some numbers ready making the case. I can not see any on their website. I will bug them about that. We should start doing that every time we see the "s" word.


A) good luck getting this past the US building codes and regulations and

B) I want one right now! I love the design... this is how we should be building houses.

C) nice appearance too. The biggest thing I'd like to do away with is sheetrock. it's messy, problematic, etc. just a real pain to work with.


Very cool. A little sensational, though. I mean, it only takes a screwdriver as long as you don't call the following "tools": ladders, scaffolding, a crane(!). Also, since it's a proof of concept, we could let the "house" moniker slide since with no plumbing or wiring, this is a very large shed.


Looks good from far, but far from good. If this house lasts ten years without significant problems, I would be surprised.

Bewalt has a point about sustainability. It has become one of many duplicitous words used to get people to keep buying. Just because it's "green" doesn't mean it's green.

One electric screwdriver? Hah! When all is said and done, the final price would be realistically closer to $75,000. and more. If you build in climates with frost, add about another 25,000 for a slab foundation.

The fast-paced video is very annoying.


Not all that glisters is gold, so is "sustainable". Poor understanding of sciences, materials and degradation of material, leads to Iron-Pyrite as opposed to Gold. It might look "cool" and "want it", but the life span is short, end of life problems will manifest themselves at deconstruction, especially when the French Architects will run across the European Waste Directives trying to dispose of all those engineered timber elements and laminates. Passivhaus standard is no guarantee of comfort, but a guarantee of expensive to maintain MVHR system (no mention of that). Bonne chance! (BTW, I hate being a pessimist, but this is what I see all the time, sustainable and eco homes aping "Caravans or Mobile Homes")

D Jazani

Give me a ready foundation, all the materials onsite, a marginally competent crew, and building inspectors at the ready and I can have a real house up in four days.

@ Cyberxbx If you think sheet rock is a pain in the rear you have never dealt with lathe and plaster. Also what are you going to replace it with something flammable?

@ D Jazani Any quality waste to energy incinerators will eat engineered timber like candy.


It's a neat design, but the termites are going to love love love that wood foundation not to mention the rest of the wood. It isn't clear to me how it's attached to the ground? Would a nice wind take it over?

Also, flat roofs are problematic. Why not angle them enough to provide good drainage?

Also agree with the comment about "a nice shed." Why not build the whole thing with electric and plumbing and then talk about the cost and time to build?


Ditto BeWalt's sentiments about the (U.N. Agenda 21) buzzword "sustainable", Susan's termite concern, and owl's total costs. Why would anyone in their right mind leave out waterproofing, electricity, ventilation, water, and sewer from the cost of a usable house? Oh, I know: It doubles the price.

OK, this is a fairly good looking basic box, and the thick walls make it pretty soundproof and comfy. I like the layout. Of course, it could be made with large SIP panels for a lot less money, but would take more than a screwdriver to assemble it. Why, pray tell, does anyone need a home which can be assembled with only a screwdriver? Any one with that few tools doesn't have the price for the home in the first place.

What we're really missing with virtually all of these buzzword houses is this: USABLE homes in small packages for a small price. Please, show us more of those in the future, boys and girls!


I think that this is a very good idea and should be developed, good luck in the future.


@ SusanSmeltzer

Termites can be prevented without permanent toxic side effects even with a wood foundation. Besides I think they use concrete footings.


Furnish it like that and build it on a slab with all electrics and plumbing finished, and I'll pay $100k for it TOMORROW! That plus a matching 3-car garage for, say, $30k, would be perfect for my little hideaway south of Cody, WY.

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