Text: Eilis Kinsella Graphics: Doortje Markovic
A group of students, at this university, are designing, engineering and building a pioneering concept house for social housing in the Netherlands
Let me introduce you to Team CASA, we are an interdisciplinary and international team with 27 members representing 9 nationalities across 8 faculties. We recently finished the final structural drawings and electrical schematics for the design of the Netherlands’ most sustainable social home. Building permits have been granted by the municipality of Helmond, where our first house will be built, in the smartest neighbourhood in the Netherlands. We have also just sold our first house to a social housing corporation called WoonBedrijf, even before the first hole in the ground has been dug.
Our goal is to revolutionise the construction industry in the Netherlands by working to accelerate the energy transition in a very traditional industry. The practice of building houses has remained very constant for many years and it is a difficult industry to change, however, it is the source of 40% of all waste produced, each year, in the Netherlands. We want to develop and normalise circular construction using renewable and recyclable materials. Building a house currently takes a long time, this causes disruption within the neighbourhood, disturbance to the environment and creates a shortage of manpower in the industry. We are aiming to build one house within 24 hours.
No concrete will be used in the home and we do not use any form of glue, so the house will be completely demountable in the future. Below the house will be a 104 m² Seasonal Thermal Energy Storage water tank, which will be heated by the solar energy collected in the summer to be used by inhabitants during the winter. This also acts as the foundation of the house, from this, a steel structure, which forms the skeleton which everything in the house is extended from. Therefore, the outer facades and inner walls can be completely interchangeable and moved, as they don’t hold any weight of the house. Renovation and personalisation of the home for the user are easy with this house. All the appliances and sustainable gadgets for the house are stored within the central core of the steel structure, this makes them easily accessible for maintenance and makes the house easier to build.
In the coming months, the team will be preparing for the building of the house in Helmond. We are currently busy ordering parts from our numerous partners and sponsors. There is an extremely large amount of organising and logistics to be done when you are building a house. There will be a grand event, at the building site, when the final parts of the house are being assembled and put together. It will be a very exciting time for the team, university and the construction market, a group of students will have proved that it is possible to build a circular, sustainable and affordable home. We hope that it will begin a revolution within the housing sector.