Architects: Rahbaran Hürzeler Architects 

Typology: Housing

Location: Basel 

Construction Date: 2018

Photos by: Weisswert

The Movable House is reduced to an absolute minimum in space, material use and energy consumption to allow for affordable housing as well as high level of spatial and architectural quality. It offers solutions for sustainable urban re-densification through its high degree of structural and functional flexibility, area-efficient floor plans, prefabricated building elements, the use of renewable resources and its simple assembly.

Four cores divide the 10x10m square floor plan into fourdifferently sized rooms. The rooms are connected by a central circular common area and create a generous sequence ofspaces on a diagonal axis. The cores are spatial volumes with various functions and their minimal size maximizes the livingarea, which also allows for installation and structure-free spaces: the cores contain the secondary use areas such as kitchen and bathrooms as well as all of the building services. At the same time they are slender, load-bearing elements of 40mm thick laminated veneer lumber boards that support the concrete roof slab. The untreated and unclad wood volumes and the concrete elements are recognisable as structural partsand define the space through their expressive materiality andsurface.

The use of space, material and energy is reduced to an absolute minimum, limiting the CO2 emissions. High-quality, flexible living space for four people is provided on just 100m2, halving the average (Swiss) living area from 46m2 to 23m2 per person. Cladding is avoided throughout and all services are led openly. Renewable energy is gained by PV solar and geothermal systems. The experimental use of phase change materials (PCM) cast in the slabs compensates for the reduced thermal storage mass of such a lightweight building. Most importantly, the structure has been designed for disassembly from the outset: the house consists of prefabricated elements that are joined on site and can later be taken apart again for recycling or reassembly in another location.