Transportable architecture. From the forest to the sea and from the sea to the mountains lifestyle
Portable modular or industrial constructions are a fact and constitute a rapidly evolving revolution. Combining design and biomimicry, the concept of the house attached to the person and moving with them reflects the way molluscs live: home and life are inseparable. The idea of carrying your home on your back, like a snail, is a real architectural current that is advancing slowly but surely.
New technologies, modes of transport and materials generate new formats and finishes and improved performance: homes can be 100% eco-friendly with the introduction of the “Passive House”, a term referring to those that have bioclimatic architecture features combined with much greater energy efficiency than traditional construction. The word “passive” indicates their affinity to and respect for the most avant-garde environmental values.
We are beginning to see the movement of houses to different locations. They arouse great interest when they appear in the specialised media, especially because of their adaptability: they do not have an impact on the environment or disrupt natural harmony. The Covid virus has fuelled a movement from the city to the countryside, and above all to the idea of mobility, from a forest to the sea, from the sea to the mountains or from the mountains to the plains. Offering us different options for the paths we follow in life, the possibility of living elsewhere, seeing ourselves as nomads.
The simplest version, a cabin, becomes a place of refuge or, as accommodation for guests, complements another house. It can also be used as a work room separated from the main house.
In the nineteenth century, the writer H. D. Thoreau, withdrew for two years to a hut in the Walden woods. His experience elevated this construction to an expression of man’s essential habitat in nature. “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach,” he said in his work on life in the woods.
The philosopher Heidegger also lived in a small hut in the Black Forest in the 1920s. “The hut remained a constant dialogue partner for Heidegger. It located him in rigorous contact with existence,” says Adam Sharr, author of the book “Heidegger’s Hut”.
Today these shelters, built with wood or different technological materials, can be produced industrially and offer great mobility. In the book “La Casa Industrializada, un sueño incompleto” (The Industrialised House, an Unfinished Dream) (Nobuko diseño editorial), Pablo Saiz, an architect specialising in industrialised architecture and co-founder of Modulab, explains the historical evolution of this type of construction and analyses its contemporary development and its future.
He reviews the history of prefabricated houses, from the John Manning Portable Cottage (1833, England), to the Home designed by Konrad Wachsmann for Albert Einstein (1929, Germany), the standardised home of Le Corbusier, embodying the idea of living in mass-produced houses, and more recent examples closer to home, such as the Modulab houses, and the Garoza House, designed by Juan Herreros working with the Neoblock company.
The nomadic spirit, coupled with the desire to live in ready-made homes, can be found in the work of several Spanish architects and studios specialising in this lifestyle. All of them are currently developing projects around the world.
Comprehensive eco-efficiency: MODULAB – Pablo Saiz
“The Industrialised House as an industrial product encompasses broader fields than those of traditional, individual, custom-made architectural production. To understand the Industrialised House in this environment, it must be considered as an industrial product in a broad context,” Pablo Saiz told Lifestyle by Porcelanosa. The Modulab system consists of applying an industrialised process that allows the optimisation of time, costs and quality for each project. At Modulab, they work with a network of industrial partners and associates who have extensive proven experience in industrialised construction. Its area of activity includes family houses (where they have their own design catalogue), collective housing, educational projects, hotels and offices.
The architect’s dream: CLK – Joaquín Vaquero
Joaquín Vaquero’s CLK studio began international operations in 2005 with orders from Holland, Libya, Mauritania, Mozambique and Russia. He also specialised in industrialised solutions of different types and on different scales, from shopping centres to modular homes. “This architecture is referred to pejoratively as prefabricated, as if it were of low quality, but that is an error, since it consists of carrying out a project in the same way that an aircraft is made, controlling prices and times, so that the product is optimised and transportable,” he tells Lifestyle. Currently, he has several projects in progress in Spain and is working at Oman airport. He has also designed a number of modular constructions for shopping centres and homes in the woods near Moscow.
Advanced technology in nature:BARAGAÑO BHOME – Sergio Baragaño
“We have been working with Arcelor Mittal for a long time and the changes in recent years have been extraordinary,” says Sergio Baragaño, founding partner of BHome. The studio is developing a new way of designing homes, adapted to each ecosystem. It is a high-quality product, close to the avant-garde in construction. “Homes with the most advanced technology and a delivery period of less than four months [without delays or changes in budget]. Growing homes, which offer users the possibility of articulating future growth in space and time, both horizontally and vertically, as well as making changes of use within the same space with relative ease,” he says. One of his latest projects is CasaMontaña in Valdés (Asturias) , a home for an English landscape painter and his family, who are in love with Asturias, and have opted for an industrialised second home. It was made in 4 months in Madrid and transported to its final site 600 km away, passing through the Cantabrian mountains, where it was assembled in 5 hours. Finally, the black slate roof was installed by a local craftsman, bringing technology and tradition together to create a unique building.
The cabin in transit: ABATON – Carlos Alonso and Camino Alonso
The Abaton architecture studio has created the APH80 transportable home. It is a cabin that succeeds in conveying the idea of an open space. The APH80 is self-sufficient, sustainable and transportable by road. It can be manufactured in 4 to 6 weeks and built in one day and is definitely a good option for those who want to live in the heart of nature, away from the madding crowd and without the inconvenience of traditional building or refurbishment projects.
Modular architecture transportable around the world:
- From the desert. Drake by Land ARK RV. Courtesy of Land ARK RV- USA
- On the water. Residence for students. Urban Rigger by Bjarke Ingels BIG. Courtesy of BIG –Denmark
- Ras Abu Aboud Stadium in Qatar. The first transportable and recyclable soccer stadium in the world, designed by Fenwick-Iribarren Arquitectos. Image courtesy of Fenwick Iribarren Arquitectos – Qatar
- Office in the garden with mirrors on the facade to reflect nature. Courtesy of TOOP ARCHITECTUUR – Belgium