Fresh off winning the “Design of the Year” for their refugee housing solution, the “Better Shelter,” IKEA is again making waves for a pioneering, flat pack solution to societal needs. Developed by the IKEA innovation lab Space10 alongside architects sine lindholm and mads-ulrik husum, the spherical “Growroom” is a DIY garden structure intended to help people “grow their own food much more locally in a beautiful and sustainable way.” And now, plans for the structure have been made available online for free via Space10’s open source platform, giving anyone the opportunity to build their own 3-dimensional garden.
Flat Pack: The Latest Architecture and News
Remember Innovation Imperative's modular alternative to the “cuboid office?” Shortly after featuring it on ArchDaily interest for the innovative building system grew exponentially; you can now purchase your very own tetra shed® for $25,000 (price subject to decrease, contingent on demand). Each unit is customizable, expandable, fully insulated, and easily tailored to suit your climatic needs. Measuring at about 10 square meters, the units can be transformed into a garden office, spare bedroom, or even combined and stacked to create studio homes and boutique hotels. Continue after the break to learn more about the capabilities of the tetra shed®.
The following is the first article of Material Substance, a column, penned by Christopher Brenny and presented by AD Materials, which investigates the innovative applications of materials in architecture.
A material is nothing without a process. The characteristics of plastic, for example, vary dramatically depending on where and how the raw material is applied during the forming process. The same material can be used to create a bag, a solid container, or a woven textile. The difference between a disposable water bottle and carpeting is so distinct that one could not make the material connection without some foreknowledge of the manufacturing process of each.
The result of this material ecosystem is a scenario in which design and manufacturing must inform one another. This connection often moves so slowly in the building industry that it is difficult to perceive and very slow to adapt. Shape memory alloys such as nitinol (muscle wire), for example, are gradually moving into public nomenclature. While the novelty of such materials is ripe for exploration, application has proven difficult as the cost of such materials is quite prohibitive. Shape memory alloys, unless they are developed using more abundant metals such as aluminum, will likely remain a niche product developed for very specific applications.
Memory plastics, while less developed and responsive, have significant potential to become a familiar fixture in our daily lives. Combining this technology with the lightweight, structural capabilities of foamed materials, our preconceptions of the portable and flat packed may soon transform from disposable and insubstantial into something much more beautiful and valuable.
Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) have unveiled a three story flat-pack house in the courtyard of London’s Royal Academy of Arts (RA). Designed as an answer to the UK’s urgent need for cost-effective housing, the prototype demonstrates a method of building "high-quality, well-designed houses significantly cheaper than other traditional methods of construction."
RSHP, known for their large-scale projects, envisage Homeshell as part of a wider platform which could encompass apartments, schools, factories and healthcare centers.