Tuesday, October 19, 2004

Review of Willowater, UK

Below is a very interesting website I've encountered during my literature review:


This link has brought me into a mobile prototype building concept being conceived by John Talbot based on Roger Dean's architectural idea. This prototype building is constructed for The Bishops Wood Centre in Worcester using a new modular building method and designed to be in harmony with the natural environment.

In terms of its building services requirement, underfloor heating (with provision for open fires and log burners), air flow management system, air conditioning and smart house technology is to be installed on site.

The off-site construction start from the inside with the inner room shell's to be made of fibrous plaster and switches to be built into the shells. The modules will then be transported to the site and secured together. Next step is to have a raft of concrete cement applied to the structure and insulation sprayed to the internal walls of the shells. As mentioned earlier, wiring power plugs and other services are mainly underfloor and installed on site.

This prototype earthship modular building aimed to save about 10-20% on materials and a further of 40-50% on labour. Savings than utilised for fitting out a high quality interior and toxin free materials.

Earthships buildings always known as having the advantage of being less susceptible to the impact of extreme outdoor air temperatures, hence building users wouldn't feel the effects of adverse weather as much as in a conventional buildings. This resulting in temperatures inside the buildings that are more stable with less temperature variability, and interior rooms that seem more comfortable.

Another good point to be added is the use of modular construction that not only help balancing the time cost and quality, but also in terms of creating a better working environment in the factory. Modular construction also aid to mitigate working on site that can sometimes be hazardous.

One thing I'm in doubt about: looking at the 3D view of the building, wouldn't it be difficult to hang anything on the wall as there are hardly any flat areas around the shells? How maintenance can be carried out since the services will be built underground? Wouldn't it going to be expensive to dig the flooring up?

Other downside that need to be taken into account for having an earthships construction is the level of care required to avoid moisture problems, during both the construction and the life of the building.

It will be quite interesting to actually find out the possibility of using wood construction for the shells. Could it be cheaper and better in terms of waste management at the end of the building's life time?

1 comment:

Sister Sunshine said...

Wow! I love the concept! It will be interesting to see how the concerns you've mentioned are dealt with...
: )