Circular Tiny House - CTH*1 - Straw.Clay.Timber.Light
How to build sustainable? A very current question - that moves a lot of people, as well Master students of the course „DESIGN and MAKE sustainably“ guided by Prof. Dr. Rainer Hirth at Coburg University of Applied Sciences and Arts.
The project started with a number of seminars about problems coming from the building sector. According to an UN report from 2020 , the construction sector is responsible for 38 % of all CO2 emissions globally; for an immense and constantly growing consumption of resources and, for example, in Germany for around 55 % of all waste. The constantly increasing demand for living space per capita - the average is currently 48 qm in Germany - eliminates all progress in sustainability through the rebound effect. And is everything correct what we calculate in terms of energy consumption etc.?
So the idea came up to build an „alternative“ research building and to monitor the performance „in reality“ with one or two inhabitants over a period of five years. The goal became an experimental building based on the cradle-to-cradle principle, CO2 - neutral, not connected to the grit, operated by solar power only and made exclusively from reused and renewable materials only.
The project began with an urban planning analysis - it became clear very soon that Tiny Houses only make sense for redensification in inner cities on left over plots, on top of buildings or carparks. Under no circumstances should they consume new land in the outskirts. The built prototope occupies a car park and is thus also a statement of less car traffic.
What is a Tiny House? What do we need to live on an acceptable level of comfort ? A question of definition. The self-defined assumption - a bed for two, a wardrobe, a laptop working space, a micro bathroom and a small optimized kitchen in a light, open and architecturally sophisticated building. And surely a sofa to relax and „smart“ and flexible furniture to host at least four guests. The research building has 19 sqm useable area on two levels.
And it had to be sustainable, inexpensive and easy to build and to dismantle - following the the cradle-to-cradle principle. The Circular Tiny House CTH*1 team avoided completely CO2-emitting building materials / mineral binders such as concrete lime plaster, etc. It is almost exclusively made from renewable materials such as straw, timber and clay. All building material came from nearby: timber, lightly damaged the bark beetle - still strong but not fulfilling the high visual standards any more. And clay, chalk and reused building components like windows gained from nearby demolished buildings.
The application of the cradle-to-cradle principle was also specified, neither nails or clue was used. The building can be dismantled completely with a battery screwdriver after the monitor period of five years. There will be neither a demolition hammer nor a rubbish container the straw and the clay will be plowed under by the supplier. Timber, windows, doors etc will come back to the building sector.
The CTH’1 on the campus will be used as guest flat of the Faculty of Design with a semester-related period of use from 15 March to 1 December - fully autonomous for 10,5 month by roof integrated photovoltaic modules and a large batterie. Rain water will be collected, purified and used for all purposes. These assumptions will be scientific monitored and verified over a period of five years.
Prof. Dr. Rainer Hirth (Teamleader)
LBA MA Arch. Anders Macht
Designteam Master: cand. arch. Til-Oliver Frank, cand. arch Christopher Nguyen, et.al. Global Status Report of the Global Alliance for Buildings and Construction (GlobalABC) 2020