Luxury Prefab Off-The-Grid Cabin

The recently unveiled Gapahuk cabin was designed by the Norwegian architecture firm Snøhetta and the leisure home builder Rindalshytter. It can be equipped to operate completely independently of the grid, and comes in a prefabricated package, meaning it can be built virtually anywhere.

The Gapahuk is a single story structure and has 968 sq ft (90 sq m) of interior floorspace. The interior is well-laid out, with most of the space taken up by a large open plan living/dining area and kitchen. The home also features three bedrooms, a spacious bathroom with a shower and toilet, and another separate toilet. The home also features a large covered outdoor deck, and plenty of storage areas, both inside and out.

Judging from the renders, the finished home will feature ample glazing, while most of the interior and exterior surfaces will be clad in wood. While the basic version is intended to be hooked up to the grid, it would also be easy to install the necessary tech to take if off-grid. according to the firm, the cabin’s sloping roof is ideal for installing solar panels, while it also protects from both the sun and from high winds. The home is heated by a wood burning stove, while it would probably be relatively simple to install a composting toilet, and a couple of water tanks and a water filtration system. Since the home was designed in Norway, it is probably safe to assume it offers comfortable living conditions even in the harshest climates.

The Gapahuk is probably the closest thing you can get to a professionally designed, high-end prefab home at the moment, and as such also carries a hefty price tag. It costs roughly $156,600 (1350,000 NOK) which does not include construction, or any of the off-grid features.

New Easy to Construct Disaster Relief Shelters

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Given the recent refugee crisis, it’s more important than ever to have affordable, practical and easy to construct disaster relief housing solutions available. The recently unveiled Duffy Shelter is all that and more. It was created by the firm Duffy London of London, UK, and they also manufacture them. The shelters are easy to construct and are shipped flatpacked, so 35 of them can be transported in one van.

The Duffy Shelter is basically a pod, which is raised off the ground. It measures 73 x 49 x 56 in (185 x 125 x 142 cm), and can easily accommodate two adults sleeping side by side. The shelter is comprised of two wooden walls, a wooden floor, a door, two crossing legs, and four feet. All of the wooden parts are manufactured using a CNC cutting machine, while the wood comes from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC)-managed forests and other controlled sources. The additional components include windows, shutters, hinges, seals and screws. The shelter can be erected in less than an hour using only a screwdriver.

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Since the shelter is raised off the ground, a lot of the cold and dampness is already eliminated, but it is also well insulated using fabric. The shelter’s primary use is as disaster relief housing, though it can also be used as a tent, or a guesthouse. It’s possible to apply different kinds of finishes to the exterior, depending on their purpose. It can also be placed atop a trailer and towed by a car.

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Duffy London is currently accepting large orders from companies and charities, though there is a 12- to 16-week lead-time. They plan to start accepting single unit orders from the general public in early to mid 2017. Pricing will also be announced at that time, while pricing for bulk orders is currently available on request.

Tiny Prefab Home That’s Very Easy to Assemble

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Cities across the world are battling overpopulation, while rents skyrocket. But the Chinese People’s Architecture Office (PAO) has come up with an ingenious solution to this problem. They have recently unveiled a home intended for first time homeowners, which is very affordable and easy to assemble.

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The so-called Plugin House is made using PAO’s patented prefabricated panel system, and it can assembled by a small team of people in only a couple of hours. In fact, PAO claims that even people with no prior construction experience can build this home in just 24 hours using only a hex key.

While the Plugin House is intended as a full featured home on its own, it can also be used to expand an existing home. The Plugin House pictured here was built for Mrs. Fan, a young woman who wished to move out of her parent’s home and into their old courtyard house. But because the latter was very cramped and dark, she opted to attach a Plugin House to it to make it bigger and more suitable to live in.

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The home measures 299 sq ft (27.8 sq m) and features a lounge, kitchen, and bathroom. Mrs. Fan’s home is also fitted with a shower and a composting toilet. It also features ample glazing, which lets in plenty of natural daylight and makes the interior appear larger than it is.

The modules the home is made of are prefabricated off site, and already come with all the necessary insulation, as well as the interior and exterior finish. All the wiring and plumbing spaces are located in one molded part of the modules. To construct a Plugin House, these modules are simply attached one to another via the integrated locking system, which must be tightened using a hex key.

Mrs. Fan’s Plugin House cost only $10,000 to construct.

Simple and Modern Refugee Housing

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Germany, among other EU countries, is currently facing the problem of quickly finding adequate housing for refugees and asylum seekers that it has let across its borders. The modular houses, designed for this purpose by Architect and builder Werner Sobek, are a great example of the fact that refugee housing can be modern, affordable and comfortable. The units are called Aktivhaus, and a whole development of them has recently been completed in Winnenden, which is a town about 20 kilometers northeast of Stuttgart. It can accommodate 200 asylum seekers and functions just like real homes.

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The development is comprised of 22 units, which were built with quality and durability in mind. The modules used to build these homes are prefabricated off-site, and arrive to the build site ready to be assembled. They’re made from larch wood, and the company claims they have a lifespan of 50 years. They are manufactured by the company AH-Aktiv-Haus.

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These units will be used to house refugees, but that is not their sole purpose. The German region of Baden-Württemberg is in dire need of additional housing, and they estimate that they will need 40,000 apartments per year for the next few years. About 30,000 apartments will be needed by those granted asylum.

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Each Aktivhaus is built according to the so-called Triple Zero sustainable building standard, which was developed by Werner Sobek. In a nutshell, a Triple Zero building is one which consumes no more energy than it generates from renewable sources (Zero Energy Building). Such a building also produces zero carbon emissions, or other harmful substances, which also makes it a Zero Emission Building. Furthermore, such a building can be completely reintegrated into the cycle of materials, making it a Zero Waste Building. In addition to that, it can also be connected into a network of other self-sufficient buildings, power generators, energy storage systems and energy consumers.

This is certainly a great example of eco-friendly building, and the result is a home that is modern, spacious and would be a pleasure to live in.

Super Affordable Tiny House

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Even though downsizing to a tiny house is all about cutting costs and saving, a lot of custom made, or prefab tiny home offerings have hefty price tags. Which kind of defeats the purpose, and even though there’s always the fun choice of going the DIY route and building your own home, it’s also very nice when companies offer affordable premade solutions. Such as the so-called France tiny home made by Pin Up Homes, a Check Republic-based company.

The France home measures just 74 sq ft (6.9 sq m), so it truly is tiny. They’ve recently completed the prototype of it, which has no bathroom. The home is made out of 21 insulated panels, which are held together by threaded rods. According to the company, three people can assemble the home in just three hours. Disassembly is equally fast and efficient.

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The interior of the home has three sections, namely a living space, a bedroom and a small kitchenette. The bedroom is separated from the living area by a shelving unit, which also acts as storage space. The home is heated by a woodburning stove.

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No foundation is necessary to erect one of these homes, since it rests on stilts. This could be a problem in areas where there are strong winds, though it would make it easy to build it on an uneven terrain. As already mentioned, there is no shower or toilet, as well as no water distribution system. This could be solved by installing a water tank, or a rainwater collection system, and perhaps adding a composting toilet. There is also no electrical system in place, so the addition of, for example, a solar power array would be welcome too.

The cost of this home is just $1200, so even with all the necessary add-ons, the price would still be low. And even as is, it could still make an awesome garden shed. These homes are still in the testing phase, though the company hopes to begin mass production soon.