Modular techniques and digital platform enhance sustainability and adaptability of new Honduran development.
The designs seek to respond top the climate, terrain and culture of Roatán, an island off the coast of Honduras in central America, combining the island’s traditional timber construction, with the latest digital design, engineering and construction techniques.
Keeping it local
Zaha Hadid Architects has worked with structural engineer AKT II to understand the local supply chain, logistics and construction techniques to promote the use of local materials, craftsmanship and manufacturing facilities and so support the island’s economy.
Sustainable timber, which will form the main structural elements, will be sourced from certified forests on the Honduran mainland and treated locally on the island.
Going modular to improve sustainability and drive down waste
Digital and modular techniques will ensure that all parts of the logs are used in order so minimise waste and pollution, while helping to reduce the embedded carbon during construction and development’s overall carbon footprint.
The dimensions of the structure’s base timber units, for example, have been established to allow for the constraints of the local transport networks to ensure carbon emissions and logistics costs are minimised.
The use of lightweight timber also results in a reduced and adaptive foundation system that can be fabricated off-site, minimising on-site activity and giving maximum protection to the site’s native flora and fauna.
DfMA for quick assembly
The design for manufacture and assembly (DFMA) approach underpins the whole design approach, enabling the creation of a structural kit of parts, with smart timber connections allowing quick assembly and disassembly. This means that any element of the modular kit could be reconfigures or recycled in the future.
Integrated services and insulation will also be pre-assembled and installed within this structural system that performs as a robust structural frame and building envelope with enhanced thermal and acoustic performance.
All suppliers will be given full help to develop their product lines to the 3D digital information model of the houses and the terrain, while also giving local trades and construction teams direct experience of using new techniques.
Passive approach to minimising energy
Hilson Moran developed the design’s passive environmental control and water cycle strategies to minimize energy consumption. Temperatures will be reduced to improve thermal comfort, with little or no requirements for mechanical ventilation. Dynamic thermal modelling was used to validate user comfort and energy consumption parameters.
Optimizing renewable resources to reduce energy consumption and generate water, the modular units are designed to be self-shading, open and oriented towards the prevailing sea breeze for natural cooling. Local, natural materials and ground coupling provide further cooling to interior spaces.
When required, water is removed from the atmosphere for supplementary cooling by dehumidification. This water is harvested and filtered and available for use in each home.
Shading canopies are shaped so that they can in the future accommodate photovoltaic arrays, with batteries will store renewable electricity.
Digital platform to help customisation
A digital configuration platform developed by Zaha Hadid Computation and Design (ZHCODE) research group, will enable homeowners to plan their homes and connect with local suppliers. The platform can be used to accommodate the specific spatial needs of family members, share resources and costs with neighbours and allow flexibility for communal areas.
Homeowners will have access to this configuration platform with exclusive rights to their own units of 3D space called volume-pixels or ‘voxels’. Their residences will be calculated to fit within their chosen arrangement of voxels. Each voxel is 35sqm in plan-area and 4m high.
This effectively means that homeowners can customize the spatial layout of their residence to fit their preferred number of voxels. These choices are exponential in nature, with at least 15,000 different variations to configure the maximum of 5 voxels.
Residential units vary from 35sqm studios (1 voxel), to 175sqm family homes (5 voxels).
The platform also gives a choice of built-in furniture modules and spatial arrangements to suit individual lifestyles and preferences. These modules include walk-in wardrobes and conversation pits and are designed to integrate into the walls or contained in islands within each room.
Homeowners can also appoint local suppliers to create furniture specific for each room using the digital assets that the configuration platform provides including the 3D model of the home.
Featured Image: Zaha Hadid Architects