Kimberley Mok is a former architect who has been covering architecture and the arts for Treehugger since 2007.
We've often sung the praises of prefabricated structures here on Treehugger – after all, the process of producing prefab buildings creates less construction waste, construction times are typically shorter, and the results are usually more energy-efficient – all important aspects when it comes to building in a more sustainable way.
But there's more than one way to build a sustainable prefab, and Argentinan design and construction company Grandio has come up with one that is both affordable, and one that they say is nearly "indestructible."
Taking its cue from the cozy Scandinavian idea of h ygge, the prefab Hüga is built with the rugged landscapes of Patagonia in mind, where homes can be subjected to harsh and unpredictable conditions like intense wind, snow, rain, humidity and quickly fluctuating temperatures. The creators of Hüga include two architects and two engineers, along with several university professors, who were inspired by their students' aspirations for affordable and location-independent housing. They say:
Hüga's tough structural shell is made with reinforced concrete that's been molded with a system of lightweight polymer molds and formwork, and assembled rapidly off-site. While the use of carbon-intensive concrete is a downside in terms of sustainability, this material does allow for the option of burying the Hüga underground, bunker-style. According to the company, after assembling the concrete components, the shell's interior can then finished out and be transported by truck to the site, where it can then be set up in about a day, without the need for a foundation.
Measuring 36-feet long, 13-feet wide, and 13-feet tall, the Hüga's approximately 485-square-foot interior has been designed as an open plan living space, bookended by full-height folding mesh doors on both ends.
Here is the rear of the house.
The mesh doors are designed so that one person can easily open or close them, and also function as an operable canopy for shading the porch and interior.
The same meshed metal material is carried over as protective screens for the windows at the sides of the house as well.
The interior features a large living room that's brightly lit with the huge windows and glazed patio doors.
The kitchen has a large dining counter, which includes space for the modern cooktop.
Here we see the sink, equipped with a space-saving dish-drying rack, and lots of storage.
There is also a lot of storage drawers hidden within the staircase.
The Hüga comes in one- or two-bedroom models, but both have this wonderful little mezzanine above, which straddles the middle zone of the structure and is located above the bathroom.
Back downstairs and beyond the kitchen is the bathroom, which has a shower, sink and toilet. There is also an anteroom just outside the bathroom proper, and it's equipped with a sink and mirror.
At the very rear, we have the primary bedroom, which takes full advantage of having a 10-foot high ceiling. There is a lot of built-in cabinetry and shelving here to maximize all that height.
Ultimately, the designers say that the overarching idea behind Hüga is to create something versatile, yet fully equipped with all of today's conveniences, coming in a disaster-resistant package that can be moved with its owner:
The company is now partnering with North American suppliers in order to manufacture and distribute them more efficiently. According to the company, prices will be available upon request, and will be based on the finishes selected and transportation costs. To find out more, visit Grandio, on Facebook and Instagram.
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