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BioBuild Challenge

Building health

  • Creator
  • #2711

    Saskia van Manen

    With 51% of the global population living in an urban setting and an annual increase of 1.5-2% forecasted, addressing the main challenges of city living is paramount to ensuring wellbeing. The main concerns in urban areas are clean drinking water, waste management, air pollution, transportation and effects of climate change. Increasingly social aspects of populations are becoming important, with safety, ageing populations and isolation as primary concerns. These matters, as well as modular design, should be considered in the development of pre-fabricated building panels.

    The ‘Building health’ concept examines how healthy (e.g. sustainable) buildings provide more than a roof over our head by contributing to physical and emotional welfare.

    Urban homes become ‘private pods’ clustered around shared green spaces that can be used for recreation and/or crop cultivation, promoting safe cohesive communities (sketches on the attached image). Each pod faces green space on 3 of its 6 sides providing an open spacious feel; single story pods are covered by a rooftop garden accessible from dual story pods, enabling everyone to enjoy outdoor space. Double story pods are covered in solar panels. Privacy in these high population density communities is maintained through intelligent use of new materials and technology in pre-fabricated multi-functional multi-layer panels.

    One of the main tasks of these panels is filtering of rainwater. Rainwater catchments created on top of the buildings enable water to trickle down a nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) filter, after which the clean water runs into a large subterranean reservoir.

    Externally the panels are covered in a layer of plants. Not only do these contribute to air quality and green space, shown to reduce stress levels, their roots provide an additional layer of thermal and acoustic insulation.

    Internally the panels are covered by a screen, enabling the inhabitant to personalise the décor as desired. A switchable NCC film that allows for clear, one-way or opaque windows, ensuring privacy, will cover glazed sections. The size of the buildings can be varied and scaled-up to allow for communal spaces such as schools.

    Developed in collaboration with Rob van Manen.

    [starrater tpl=44 size=’24’]

    Building Health

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  • Author
  • #2770

    Saskia van Manen


    Rob van Manen

    With appropriate adaptations pods of this type would also be eminently suited for use as temporary shelter in disaster areas when residences have been destroyed by earthquakes, flooding or other natural disasters, particularly because they provide their own supply of water and energy. In this case special attention should be paid to ease of transport and speed of deployment.

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