UK Passivhaus specialist Mike Jacob has joined with award-winning architect Adrian James to create a flatpack home that takes less than a week to install. Dubbed "Kiss House" the prefabricated housing model is similar in concept to the Mini House from a few years back, but on a much bigger and more livable scale. Offering two, three and four bedroom versions, the Kiss House is built using cross-laminated timber (CLT), which is a sustainable alternative to traditional building methods such as concrete and steel construction.
"Each Kiss House shell is made from top quality precision engineered CLT which is fast becoming recognized as the optimum method of construction worldwide due its exceptional performance in terms of energy performance; strength; fire, acoustic and seismic performance and sustainability," Mike Jacob, Director of Kiss House tells New Atlas. "Huge carefully managed forests mean more trees are planted than cut down and each Kiss House will regrow in approximately one hour. I know it sounds incredible, but it is simply because the managed forests in Austria are huge and very carefully managed."
The Kiss model also meets Passivhaus standards, which has a primary focus of reducing a home's heating demand and primary energy consumption. The Passivhaus standard was developed by Professors Bo Adamson of Sweden and Wolfgang Feist of Germany in the 1990s and describes itself as "a holistic low energy design concept."
Passivhaus features include high insulation; passive solar gains and thermal mass; air-tightness of a building and natural indoor air circulation.
"Each Kiss House is a certifiable Passivhaus," says Jacob. "This is the international gold standard for energy efficiency in construction. Passivhaus buildings have exceptional comfort and very low running costs. There is no better standard for energy or comfort performance."
The Kiss House comes in three different versions. Kiss 2.1 which is a 80 sq m (861 sq ft) two bedroom home with a 53.4 sq m (574.8 sq ft) footprint. Kiss 3.1 is a 124 sq m (1,334.7 sq ft) three bedroom home with a footprint of 78.4 sq m (843.9 sq ft) and Kiss 4.1 is a 140 sq m (1,507 sq ft) four bedroom home with a footprint of 85.8 sq m (923.5 sq ft).
Each house is prefabricated off site in a series of "panels," allowing the home to be shipped and transported in a "flatpack." Once delivered on site and after the concrete slab is prepared, a Kiss House can be assembled in about three to four days anywhere in the world.
"They are panelized, so they are shipped in an efficient manner – not volumetric which means transporting 3D buildings which isn't very efficient," says Jacob. "They are transported by road or sea depending on where in the world our client is. We can ship anywhere and are currently talking to customers all over the world."
The Kiss House features open-plan living on the ground floor, with a large modern kitchen, wooden flooring and floor-to-ceiling glass windows. Individual bedrooms and bathrooms are located upstairs on the first floor and the home is 100 percent airtight. The exterior can be finished in four different cladding options: traditional masonry (bricks); metal (zinc, copper, or stainless steel); classic rendering or timber (larch, cedar, chestnut or others by request).
Each Kiss dwelling is created and designed to suit the individual owner's needs and although these are prefabricated homes, they are by no means carbon copies of each other. The interior and floor-plan can change for each home and Kiss House can also provide the home as an empty shell, for buyers to complete the interior however they desire. What's more, the homes are designed so that they can be reconfigured over time and grow with a family or individual as their living needs change and evolve.
Costs for the Kiss House is case dependent and subject to bespoke specification, however the homes are designed to offer a high quality housing product targeting the mid-range price point. A price guide for a fully fitted Kiss House in the UK is approximately £2,000 (around US$2,550) per square meter.
Starting prices for the Kiss export model should be available next month, with shell only models promised to be highly cost effective.