The Colorado-based Formworks Building Inc. has been specializing in earth sheltered building technology since 1979. The main idea behind their buildings is the creation of sustainable, affordable housing. Formworks structures have an estimated usable life span of over one hundred years without any major maintenance. These houses are built into the earth surrounding the building site, which has the added bonus of protecting the home from raging storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, fires, mudslides and so on.
The Rural Studio members, founded in 1993 by Sam Mockbee, have been perfecting the design of the so-called 20K House for the last twenty years. The project was started by Mockbee who created a program where Auburn University’s architecture students could use reclaimed wood or natural other materials to design houses for low-income residents of Hale County, AL. For the past ten years, the students have been building these homes for the poor living in the Black Belt area of Alabama. But now the 20K house is being put on the general market.
The Nomad Micro home is the brainchild of Vancouver architect Ian Kent, who is currently raising funds to begin producing the home through an Indie Go Go campaign. The Nomad Micro Home can be described as a sustainable tiny house kit. It is so small and lightweight that the buyer can ship it anywhere in the world, and once it arrives, anyone with some basic carpentry skills can assemble it on their own.
The Nomad Micro Home measures a measly 10×10 feet and features a living room, kitchen, and an upstairs sleeping loft. However, due to the size constraints, several of these serve a double purpose. For example, the shelves in the kitchen are also the stairs to the loft area and the whole bathroom is also a shower. The Nomad is designed to house one or two people, though several house kits can be assembled together to make a larger home.
Late in October, 36 new homes made from recycled shipping containers began arriving in Brighton to become temporary dwellings for men and women that have had a history of homelessness.
The initiative was begun by the Brighton Housing Trust, a housing charity, and QED Estates Ltd, a housing developer. Located in New England Road on a plot that is known as Richardson’s Yard, the development is taking the place of a car park and a former scrap metal yard. Because the land is not suitable for long-term housing, the location is temporary, but the container homes can be easily relocated when the five-year permit expires.
Team Middlebury is one of the twenty teams chosen to compete in this year’s US Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition and their entry is the design and building of a socially and environmentally sustainable house called the InSite house. The team is made up of more than 100 Middlebury College undergraduate students from over 25 different academic disciplines. The finished two bedroom and one bathroom house will measure 956 square feet, while the building costs are $250,000.
The first team from the Czech Republic to enter the Solar Decathlon is Team CTU, made up of 26 students who set their sights on designing and building a prototype for future housing while raising awareness of solar energy, energy efficiency, and Czech architecture and engineering.
Their submission in the Solar Decathlon 2013, for which judging takes place in October 2013 in Irvine, California, is AIR House, which stands for Affordable – Innovative – Recyclable. Utilizing energy effective materials and technologies, AIR House provides a comfortable environment for older generations that appeals to the senses and respects the environment.