According to a report published by the Preparatory Committee for the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in June 2016 at least 2 billion more people will require adequate housing by 2030. As global urbanization continues at an extraordinary rate, more alternatives for affordable, flexible and adaptable housing solutions are required. The problem of adequate and flexible housing solutions makes a case for rapidly deployed systems that are agile enough to be established in differing geographic and social contexts.
Architectural history provides a varied corpus of ideas for housing developed specifically for times of crisis. The inclination to serve the 99% without access to design services is a persisting leitmotif in architecture. Architects proposed innovative deployment strategies such as collapsibility to effectively provide simple dwellings. From Eero Saarinen’s unfolding house to Herbert Yates plydom agriculture workers’ housing, folding and unfolding an adaptable form of mass housing integrated both architectural discourse and prototype production.
Looking to leverage both contemporary crisis and the essence of quickly deployable structures, Italian architect Renato Vidal has developed an unfolding A-frame. Combining two archetypes of architecture, folding and the simplicity of the A-frame structure, the architect develops a simple multi-purpose building system that can be transported and adjusted to any site. A hinged panel composite system of cross-laminated timber with a metal facing begins as a 20-foot standard container. Once it arrives on site, the container is literally «unfolded» by lifting the ridge into place which produces a compression triangle arch positioning the oblique sections in place with the U-shaped floor and lateral half-walls acting as a tie beam. Five standard sized 20-foot sections are juxtaposed to form the basic 80 square meter dwelling and aligning additional sections results in dwellings of various sizes. Placed on point foundations such as screw-in piles, the structure can be moved and removed as needed reducing site disturbance. Multiple organisations are possible both in terms of size and planning as the a-frame’s interior volume can be designed to suite client needs. Although not proposed as such by the architect, the gable wall ends could potentially by designed and even built on site to suit local materials and individual desires.
|Renato Vidal's M.A.D.I. Unfolding House|