"A Home Away from Home" competition: "Thuis in de Stad" (At home in the city) entry.
In the context of the competition launched in the Netherlands for urgent housing solutions for refugees, our proposal “Thuis in de Stad” (At home in the city) suggests a prefabricated housing system to be applied in existing vacant office buildings by stripping down their facades and adding plug-in housing units made with CLT prefabricated wooden panels, dismountable and recyclable. Those panels are adaptable for different type of buildings. An EPDM waterproof recyclable facade finish protects the wooden temporary units from weathering.
Thuis in de Stad is a project of prefabricated housing units to be placed in empty office buildings, to be stripped of all bad finishes and leaking facade elements down to their concrete (or steel) core construction, and then fast refurbished with new wooden living units.
Those buildings are often integrated in the urban fabric. Refugees are in need for integration by sharing the city with other citizens, use the same transport, the same markets and mostly live in the same areas.
Office spaces offer structures with ready integrated services (sewage, water, electricity), modular grid construction, efficient staircases and elevators.
But they don’t offer any space for a “home (thuis)” feeling: no privacy, no identity, no chance for personalization.
"Thuis in de Stad" is a system offering warm and comfortable -though minimal- housing units within those un-personal office towers, built with CLT (cross laminated timber), made of modular elements which can be easily put in place and removed by the users themselves. Only the facades will be placed by professionals.
Because not all office buildings have the same module, this system is designed to fit most of the typical construction grids. It is adaptable because based on two “spines” of service areas, with integrated installations, connected by adjustable living spaces. It is cost effective because it solves interior finishes, installations and facades in one system.
It is reusable and recyclable, because some parts can be dismantled and placed in other buildings, such as the service spines and the windows, and other parts can be recycled.
Easily industrialized, easily removable, it’s a sober system with quality materials. The facade features a fully covering EPDM membrane, thick enough to protect the wood and extremely resistant, cheap and recyclable.
The presence of the main window sun-shading frames gives quality to the facade and host a adhesive layer of solar cells applied to the EPDM.
In order to enhance the integration of the users, we aim to combine in the same building other categories of users, such as students, elderly which could find beneficial to live and take care for each other in exchange. Collective, meeting, facilities for can find place in the ground floor or in intermediate floors for high rise buildings.
Wood is insulating, acoustic, warm, healthy, sustainable. The mono-materiality of the intervention, make this project effective in terms of cost, production, reuse and exploitation costs.
Most of the components can be kept in stock and used as needed in any building. Many other adaptable components are just simple wooden panels to be cut in size in the production line.
Due to the adaptability to indoor spaces, those units have an indoor height of 2,6 m, good for comfortable living. Installations run under the floor to reach the existing technical shafts and rooms in the core of the building. Natural ventilation is provided through the windows, while air is extracted mechanically from the modules. Heating is provided from a radiator under the window.
"Thuis in de Stad" is a sustainable approach to both the problem of empty buildings and housing refugees in a shared opportunity for a quality solution.