Sunday, January 3, 2016

Wish-Lust - Green Magic Homes

It's been a while since I've covered housing and house design, but I've recently seen a couple of really interesting design platforms and I wanted to share with you all one of the standouts.

These are the modular pre-fabricated homes, that are sod-roofed that are offered by Green Magic Homes. 
This US run, Mexico based production company offers both design and production of homes built with prefabricated fiber re-enforced polymer modules.  Green Magic Homes are light weight, waterproof, mold resistant, impervious to rot and infestations, and offer infinite design possibilities. Flexible and durable, the structure will reportedly last hundreds of years with minimal maintenance.

These elegant arched structures are made of fiber reinforced polymer modular components which are durable, flexible and waterproof. With seemingly endless design possibilities, these structures can be assembled quickly and easily, with minimal cost to create a gracious living environment in harmony with nature. GreenMagicHomes offer 12 different pre-made designs to give an idea of what their whole-home builds can look like.

Green Magic Homes are quick and easy to assemble. Each component has perforated flaps that screw and seal together and are anchored to the foundation, which allows for fast installation and solid construction. No special skills or heavy equipment are required for assembly, just scaffolding.  All the seams are sealed to maintain waterproofing.

In general, they are designed to withstand the weight of 20cm (7.8") of soil and plants in the highest point of the structure, which is the most critical. Additionally, they are also designed to support 200kg or more per square meter  (1.4 psi) of live load, i.e., there may be people walking or sitting on them, as well as light structures such as kiosks or pergolas. 

The earth berms on the sides of the structures and on the roof are structured in such a way that they actually collaborate with the stability and strength of the finished structure, instead of being a dead load. The technology used in these earthworks is an evolution of various methods of earth construction and stabilization such as superadobe and geotextiles, designed for the living earth and vegetation covering of the GMH system. Composite ducts and channels for electrical wiring and water pipes as well as mechanical ventilation ducts, can be added to the shell at any point necessary.


Green Magic Homes are super insulated with a high stabilization index, are virtually earthquake proof, deflect tornadoes, offer maximum resistance against hurricanes and provides UV radiation protection. Having a layer of soil over the top of them not only gives you stability, and cover, but the arched shape leaves nothing for high winds to catch on, if you are in storm prone areas.


The system is designed and calculated structurally by GMH's engineers, reportedly using the latest spreadsheet software and simulation software, in compliance with national and international standards and the IBC, or international building code. Logically, these calculations are additionally supported by actual tests of materials and structures already completed.

Other than the ducted channels for wiring, A/C and piping, any additional fixing or fastening internally brings a challenge that regular plaster, timber or even stone houses don't face. Putting a screw or nail into the walls punctures the shell and creates a breach in the waterproofing of the structure. Fastening elements, fixed to the walls with special adhesives, such as two part epoxy and in some cases adhesive polyurethane sealants like those used for sealing the modules can be used for this purpose instead.


In the case of very heavy elements that have a strong leverage effect that may exceed the capacity of an adhesive (such as in the case of a projecting arm for a 50" TV), it will be necessary to fix this item before covering the walls with earth, in order to put through-bolts that then can be sealed from the outside according to instructions.

Small diameter ventilation ducts with or without extraction fans can be installed in most areas as long as they are specified in the initial design so that they can be incorporated into the production of the modules, they really do offer a holistic approach to  home building. 

You can also use the areas where there are unused electrical ducts for securing screws, since these pipelines form a double layer that prevents the formation of any possible leaks.

 The typical foundation system, applicable in most of cases, is a simple reinforced concrete beam 30 x 30cm in section, that goes under all the modules and which also serves to anchor them. However, GMH recommend that a soil study is important (as for any construction), to determine the soil’s load bearing capacity and other characteristics which may affect the foundations.


Whilst more of a Tatooine House than a Vault-Tec bunker this design and modular functionality really appeals to me, and if I were to ever be in a position to build and deign my own home, I would strongly consider something like the Green Magic Homes, for the buried in features, and Hobbit-like aesthetic, if nothing else.










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