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 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
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
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
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
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.
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.