Apr 252012

So is flatpack housing the way forward?

Cheap, environmentally friendly and easy to manufacture, the temporary cathedral in Christchurch, New Zealand is being built out of it. So is flatpack housing the way forward?

Cardboard? Really? It’s the common reaction to the idea of making buildings out of thick paper, such as the temporary cardboard cathedral announced for Christchurch, New Zealand, whose 19th-century one was destroyed in the earthquake last February. I met Shigeru Ban, the new cathedral’s designer seven years ago. “Buildings made of concrete are easily destroyed by earthquakes, but paper-tube buildings can survive without damage,” he said, somewhat prophetically. Won’t the cardboard go soggy in the rain? Won’t it catch fire? I didn’t need to ask if it was strong enough: we were sitting in a studio he had built on top of the Pompidou Centre in Paris – out of cardboard tubes.

Ban has been the leading evangelist for cardboard architecture for more than a decade, but this could be the moment the rest of the world pays attention. In many ways, cardboard is the perfect building material. It’s environmentally low-impact; it’s virtually a waste product (Ban’s initial inspiration was the tubes inside fax rolls); it’s easy to manufacture; it has good insulating properties, an attractive texture, and it’s cheap. Ban has made “log cabins” for refugees out of cardboard tubes, pavilions, towers, and even bridges.

Read more . . .

via The Guardian

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