The Pop-Up House, a new sustainable housing prototype, requires only four days – and practically no tools or specific skills – to assemble.
Created by French architectural firm Multipod Studio, the deisgn is based on a very simple concept: building an entire house, including floor, walls and ceiling by assembling insulation blocks separated by wooden boards.
The result is a low-cost, recyclable, passive house that can be built in only four days. The home takes up 150 squares metres and includes a central large open space that contains kitchen, dining and living room areas, as well as two private areas that feature two bathrooms, a master bedroom, two additional bedrooms and an office. The central space is connected to a decked terrace with open views to the surrounding landscape.
In addition to its exceptionally fast assembly time, the project aims to be low-cost. Inexpensive materials were carefully chosen in order to meet this goal without compromising the quality of the finished product.
The raw materials used were expanded polystyrene (EPS) and Laminate Veneer Lumber (LVL), a material made from thin layers of wood. Both are inexpensive, and even with additional costs such as waterproofing, exterior and interior finishes, electricity, plumbing and heating, the speed of assembly makes the house very competitive in the industry market.
Setting up the house requires virtually no tools or specific skills. According to the architects, only a simple electric screwdriver is required to mount the whole building.
“All the blocks and boards are ordered in the correct size, but for any necessary cutting we used a circular saw for cutting the wood and a hot wire for cutting the EPS,” they said.
The house is also completely recyclable, as all the original materials can be recovered and reused to rebuild it or other projects. The materials are also recyclable.
“For this building we opted for a screw assembly. The wood frame and insulation blocks are assembled with long wood screws. This type of assembly allows for a 100 per cent removable and recyclable solution.” the architects said.
It is widely known that wood is recyclable material – it can be crushed, compacted and reused in chipboard, for example – the recyclability of EPS is less commonly known. However, there are very effective recycling schemes for EPS that are used mainly for EPS waste from packaging materials. EPS can be crushed into small pieces and reused for the production of new blocks or melted and recycled for plastic parts.
The highlight of the project is its outstanding insulation. The insulation blocks, made of EPS, are grey because they contain graphite, which is capable of absorbing and reflecting part of the thermal radiation and it offers up to 20 per cent better insulation capacity than conventional white EPS. The blocks are also light and easy to handle, and meet the ‘SE’ fire standard: flame retardant for use in buildings.
As a result, almost no additional heating is required inside the passive solar home, which boasts very low energy consumption per square metre. The house also has strong thermal insulation and is completely airtight and capable of capturing maximum solar energy.
At present, the Pop-Up House is still in the prototype stage while its creators study and develop it as an alternative to traditional passive construction techniques. The first prototype has already been built in the pine valleys of the South of France.