Jan-Feb 2013

by Per Sauer
Providing a ‘greener’ alternative for modular housing and remote accommodation, Tektum, an Australian-based company, has developed House2.0, a modular home that provides high quality, comfortable and safe living space that is flexible and adaptable to different climates and uses. The concept has been developed by the team around Nicolas Perren, an architect who has been investigating and developing modular housing ideas for the past 20 years, servicing a range of markets including regional housing, remote accommodation, mining camps and eco-tourism.
Like most modular housing House2.0 has been designed to achieve the efficiencies of a factory-built product. The big differentiator is its truly manufactured nature rather than a construction project in a factory, minimising material waste and allowing for a high degree of control ensuring the quality of the product. Perren considered that one of the keys to making this product a success was to “solve the transportation problem”. The solution to this problem was to utilise today’s extensive and standardised shipping and road transportation system and create the structural form around a standard ISO shipping container. This concept has been optimised, creating a ‘flat-pack’ solution. After leaving the factory and arriving on site the house takes a matter of days to be fully assembled by a construction crew. This is achieved by using a patentpending mechanism that allows to house to ‘un-fold’ from its transportation mode and pre-installing all services, including electrical and plumbing, in the factory—this means the house needs only to be connected to the mains supply during set-up. Being quick and simple to assemble HOUSE 2.0 provides a good solution where time, labour constraints, and skills shortages are concerns, and achieving high quality construction and finish levels is a priority.
In developing the concept Tektum purposely chose a form that is recognisable and familiar to all, giving the product access to the mass market and driving down costs. The house has been designed “to look like a modern family home” and relates as much to the urban environments as it does to remote locations. Flexibility is provided in an open floor plan and a range of layout options. The house can be configured as a two-, three- or four-bedroom home with one or two bathrooms. Alternatively it can be configured to provide three independent living units complete with bed, bath, kitchenette, and built-in wardrobe suitable for remote temporary accommodation. With the included outdoor covered deck area this layout compares favourably with typical remote accommodation known as “dongas”, which use a four-unit layout for the same area, giving the bare minimum in space and providing no personal outdoor space. The interior finishes are also fully customisable and range from high specification models suitable for houses and specialist hotels to simpler finishes suitable for mining camps.
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