Norman Foster Foundation and Holcim unveil new concept of ‘Essential Home’
The number of people forcibly displaced is currently 103 million and growing. Many seek shelter in temporary settlements, but displaced people end up living there for years, even decades.
The Norman Foster Foundation and Holcim, a world leader in sustainable building solutions, have teamed up to develop a response to this problem based on two firm beliefs. That everyone has the right to a home and that everyone should have access to sustainable buildings.
The result of this partnership is Essential Home Research Project, a model of dignified and sustainable housing for displaced people.This project is announced at existence of space and time An exhibition hosted by the European Cultural Center during the 2023 Venice Architecture Biennale.
The full-scale Essential Home prototype combines the Norman Foster Foundation’s innovative design with Holcim’s sustainable building solutions. The structure is low carbon, energy efficient and has a circular design.
Rollable low-carbon concrete sheets form the outer shell of the home, providing physical security and ensuring durability.
To increase thermal and acoustic comfort and energy efficiency, the house is insulated using Elevate Register AK board on the floor and low carbon Aerium mineral foam on the roof.
The home sits on an Elevate EPDM membrane that prevents moisture from entering the structure, eliminating the need for excavation. To increase weather resistance, Holcim’s permeable platform made from his ECOCycle recycled construction and demolition materials forms the home’s foundation.
The home units are connected by walkways made of permeable ECOPact concrete. This low-carbon concrete not only helps biodiversity thrive by channeling rainwater underground, but also acts as a light source. Luminescent aggregates incorporated into the mix absorb light during the day and reflect it at night, increasing safety while reducing energy usage.
The house itself is completely recyclable. At the end of its lifecycle, the Essential Home can be disassembled and its various components reused in new buildings or recycled for other purposes. Finally, the proposed project has a highly sustainable profile, with approximately 70% lower CO2 emissions than comparable conventional housing solutions.
Modular design accommodates your family’s evolving needs. When replicated side by side, they create open areas between the houses and increase the sense of community.
With the Essential Homes Research Project, Holcim and the Norman Foster Foundation are starting a conversation about making sustainable architecture possible for everyone.