The project: Silicawood house. An existing product for an innovative low cost house

Silicawood project: Innovative, affordable and Green solution for low-income living.

BBuilding is the only Italian company to be selected as part of the “Better Living Challenge” for the showcase.

After a big design effort, coordination and analysis of innovative solutions, which lasted 7 months, BBuilding, with a select group of partners, will build the first eco-house totally off grid for South Africa.

Project precursor of the reconstruction of Philippi Village (township near Cape Town, with over 700,000 inhabitants).

Silicawood House is defined as a home in the sun, naturally climatized as bioclimatic, ecologic and performing built with a material that offers a high environmental quality, both from a climate point of view, and acoustic insulation point of view. Acoustic insulation and privacy remains a very appreciated factor in most cultures’ and last but not least, very important for a bioclimatic solar buildings, Silicawood provides a an excellent means for accumulating the heat derived from solar radiation during the day, and return it during the night.

Also the interior walls are made from Silicawood blocks and upon combining them with wooden boards furniture such as benches, shelving, cabinets can be custom self built.

To highlight the speed of construction process, and the possibility of fully locally producing the Silicawood panels and blocks for local use, avoiding an expensive and pollutant transport, and also adapting it to the techniques of self-construction. The construction of houses could become in this case a learning process, making people involved skilled with a capability to be employed also elsewhere.

BBuilding system offer a very good opportunity for its flexibility and performances. It recycles already used materials but in the same time its combination of a good mass with the rare possibility of performing both as a bearing and an insulating material. Moreover, it has been industrialized for allowing a very quick construction, being produced in panes or in blocks. It is lasting and requiring very low maintenance.

Such a construction system followed all the space organizations required by a low income home, and it could also be moved locally for producing a huge number of houses.

The houses are partly pre-arranged and built, partly self-built. They former are the roof, boundary walls, installations, etc., which are related with the local infrastructures running in the adjacent common roads, the latter are the internal walls, furniture and interiors, media devices, bikes, etc., which can be self-supplied by construction or market.

A space made flexible through movable partitions and furniture. All the electric, water, energy, waste, information, equipment network is connected to a shared web, easily accessible for maintenance, repairing and replacement.

The open courtyard which extends the house can be cultivated as a garden or vegetable garden, it might be used otherwise, following the attitudes of their inhabitants.