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Housing

On the last two occasions, the overall winner of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon has gone to Germany's Technische Universität Darmstadt but this year the top honor has stayed with one of the home teams. As the name might suggest, the University of Maryland's winning WaterShed project features some novel innovations to make the best use of water, in addition to an intriguing internal waterfall that helps reduce the load on the structure's air conditioning system. Read on for a brief look at the top five winning projects, as well as the People's Choice. Read More
Launched in 2009, MIT's "1K House" project challenges designers to come up with affordable, sustainable housing solutions that can improve conditions for the billions of people in the world living on less that $1 per day. The "Pinwheel House" designed by MIT graduate student Ying chee Chui is the first prototype. Read More
Canadian design firm Molo has created a cheap and comfortable housing innovation for disaster relief situations.. Dubbed "softshelter," the system has been designed to create personal space within in a communal shelter, thus providing individuals or families with some privacy during a time of hardship. The softshelter modules are made from 100 percent recycled materials designed for re-use over a long period if time. The flexible walls pack flat, suitable for fast and cost effective shipping, whilst in a matter of minutes the softwalls can be unpacked and expanded to create walls and rooms. Read More
Venice may soon be sharing its “Floating City” moniker thanks to a research project developing “amphibian houses” that are designed to float in the event of a flood. The FLOATEC project sees the primary market for the houses as the Netherlands, whose low-lying land makes it particularly susceptible to the effects of rising sea levels. Such housing technology could also allow small island-states in the Indian and Pacific Oceans that are at the risk of disappearing in the next 100 years to maintain their claim to statehood through the use of artificial, floating structures. Read More
Students from the University of Karlsruhe in Germany have created a flexible housing solution that makes the most of its minimal interior space in a very unusual way. Dubbed "Roll it", this cylinder-shaped home changes its purpose depending on its orientation - roll the the work space 180 degrees and it becomes a bed, the kitchen becomes a bathroom and you even get some exercise in the mouse wheel-like center section when you decide to "move house". Read More
This ambitious zero-energy housing proposal is the achievement of Scandinavian architectural firm, C. F. Møller in collaboration with energy consultants, Cenergia. Proposed for the Aalborg Waterfront in Denmark, the development features 60 apartments, from 4 to 12 storeys high, all supplied with a 100 percent renewable energy source. Read More
AME-LOT is a recent material reuse building plan from French architectural firm Malka, in which student housing is primarily made up of a variety of reused pallets which are added to an existing structure. The technique not only creates a striking architectural display, but also ensures that no existing building is destroyed, thus minimizing its carbon footprint. Read More
What started as a theoretical question posed on the obstacles to global housing-for-the-poor has reached fruition as voting closed June 15th on the 300House project. Contestants around the world were challenged to design a house that could be constructed for less than US$300. Prize money of $25,000 was shared among the top sixteen ranked ideas, with two-week prototyping workshops worth $15,000 for the first, second and third designs ranked by the online voting community, and three awarded the Jury Prize. Read More
British home designer Duncan Jackson recently joined forces with architectural firm Piercy Conner to transform an 1880 defense tower in Suffolk, England into a stylish and accommodating home. The defense tower, being a historically-registered building, was transformed whilst maintaining its structural appearance and integrity. The project came with a list of obstacles, including the tower's round structure, minimal windows, 12 foot-thick walls and wetlands environment. Despite these hurdles, the joint venture successfully created a contemporary home with an abundance of light, warmth and a streamlined interior design. Read More
This technology might not be fully appreciated by readers located in earthquake-free locales, but if you've ever felt the ground move beneath your feet you'll be pleased with this technology. At Tokyo Big Sight last week Japanese company THK was demonstrating how their linear motion systems could dampen the shock of an earthquake. One of their systems, when placed underneath an object that you'd like to protect, will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake. Read More
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