Self-assembly, spherical homes for off-the-grid towns, anywhere.
To hope to address the emerging, gigantic problems of the 21st century we need bold, gigantic-yet-simple solutions. Population will level at ten - eleven billion people (and committing to new, innovative, distributed population centres will be crucial).
Imagine self-assembling enough spherical houses in one place to build a sustainable, off-the-grid town for 10,000 people - in around six months. And then repeating these sphere towns in 10,000 places on what is (currently) designated as marginal land ...(i.e., land that may be only be marginal because it is outside our current focus of what land might be useful for settling new communities; and that our current use of common building materials and rigid planning systems means they cannot be designated as useful land.)
"Sphere Towns": All-Terrain-Friendly
A sphere is structurally light yet exceptionally strong, and the Ekinoid home will hence very significantly reduce raw-material requirements (from around 120 tonnes down to around 20 tonnes - reference: SEI 2007 PDF), and will free up the land underneath; it will allow occupants to fulfil their own power needs using solar/wind power - or biogas gasification (if there is suitable biomass available) - and meet their requirements for potable water by using cheap and effective treatments to rainwater runoff, using, for instance, Berkey Water Filters, or maybe a variation on the LifeSaver. The Ekinoid home will also effectively treat grey water and use in-house sewage treatment and composting; it will also provide the means to cleanly and efficiently supply most of the occupants' food needs (via a hydroponic crop system around the glass/ETFE stairwell [ETFE is recyclable]).
The Ekinoid Project focuses on the idea that a spherical structure can deliver a simple, practical, affordable housing solution, suitable for any environment. A structure whose parts can be both mass produced (locally, wherever practicable) and fabricated on-site - by unskilled hands (using detailed written and video instruction, as well as personal support from a previous Ekinoid-home-fabricator). Ekinoid homes will be designed to suit the local climate and terrain.
The Ekinoid Project: Goals
- 1. Designing the Ekinoid home in such a (bolt-together, colour-coded) way that it can be built onsite by cooperating individuals (unskilled in traditional building construction): You build your own home; you can help others build theirs.
- 2. That an Ekinoid home can be completely constructed within one week.
- 3. An Ekinoid home can be easily joined to another Ekinoid home (via the stairwell); the stairwell will act as an common access to up to four Ekinoid homes.
- 4.The Ekinoid home will be suitable for all land-based environments across the globe.
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The Ekinoid Project: Issues
- Ekinoid homes, having a spherical (steel or possibly Glulam) frame, will be extremely strong, robust and light. This will make them ideal for any environment on earth - the spherical shape retains its strength in any conditions. However, different environments (rainforest, desert, arctic, proximity to sea water etc.,) are going to need subtantially different claddings ("skins") and insulations. Wherever possible we would like to factor in the use of local materials (to minimise the transportation of materials, support the local economy etc.).
- A sphere has the maximum volume to minimum surface area ratio of any shape in Nature (25% more than a cube): Ekinoid homes will therefore be inherently easier to control temperature fluctuation through insulation than traditional rectangular homes.
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The Ekinoid Project: Needs
- 1. Seed funding for the initial project, extending to the building of a full-sized prototype.
- 2. Facilities to research, design and build a full-sized Ekinoid prototype - ideally testing a range of materials, to allow for different environments; desert, humid, cold, high rainfall etc. For this we would particularly welcome the commitment of one or more universities, specialising in architecture, structural engineering and materials research.
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Universities, we need your collaboration.
The Ekinoid Project is seeking active, ongoing collaborations with one or more universities. We want to forge partnerships (in industry and) with universities regarding architectural, structural engineering and materials solutions, and we want to involve product designers, graphic designers, 3D-graphics artists, town planners etc. The Ekinoid Project will provide excellent long-term research-based projects for groups of second/third-year, Masters and PHD students, in all of the aforementioned areas.
Please Note: We are based near St Austell in Cornwall, UK. However, we are very happy to work remotely with any sympathetic bodies worldwide. We don't care where you are, so long as you can share our vision. This is a global project - we are looking for global partnerships, global solutions.