Affordable housing is a promising challenge, and William McDonough + Partners is up to it. A firm specializing in architecture and community design with a cradle-to-cradle approach (a design style McDonough help found, by the way), William McDonough + Partners has created a recyclable residence known as the ICEhouse, the kind of thoughtful construction that will hopefully make a difference.
Built in only a few days, the ICEhouse (with the caps playing acronym for Innovation for the Circular Economy) primarily made from aluminum, polymer, aerogel, and Nylon 6, which means the ICEhouse can be broken down and rebuilt elsewhere. If, at the end, there’s no further need for the affordable house, the materials can be just as easily “returned to industry and endlessly remanufactured into new products with no loss in material quality.”
The biggest part of this big deal, at least from a construction angle, is the WonderFrame. A (patent-pending) flexible structural system, the WonderFrame is what McDonough aims to be the deciding factor in where such innovative affordable housing can pop up.
“The WonderFrame concept was designed with crisis situations in mind,” explains McDonough, “where quick-to-assemble and stable structures are essential, but also as a system that can evolve into a permanent, dignified solution for affordable housing.”
McDonough hopes that locally available materials become the go-to. While the initial WonderFrame was aluminum, research is already going toward figuring how plastics or bamboo could work.
The ICEhouse gained notoriety with its installation during this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, where the refugee crisis was a decidedly popular topic. With another installation already planned for The Valley at Schiphol Trade Park in Amsterdam, which happens to be The Netherlands’ new National Hub for the Circular Economy, where McDonough is partner and master architect, the ICEhouse will continue to rebuild and adapt, a proper theme for an overly polluted and overpopulated world.
Check out the interior and exterior of the recyclable house below.
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