Modular housing makes impressive savings with rainwater-collecting pond
Back in 2018, the Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) built an affordable modular housing project in Denmark. The firm recently reused the same modular system to produce a spiral-shaped development of almost 100 homes that wind around a central pond that forms part of a clever rainwater collection system.
Sneglehusene (or the snail houses) is located in Nye, a burgeoning neighborhood situated north of Denmark's second-largest city, Aarhus. Though it's superficially quite similar to BIG's previous modular housing project, this one isn't focused on affordable housing.
Measuring 9,500 sq m (roughly 100,000 sq ft), the development consists of six buildings which host 92 homes ranging in size from 50 to 150 sq m (540 - 1,615 sq ft) between them. The homes are arranged into an attractive checkered pattern, creating a private terrace area for each residential unit.
Their interior decor is utilitarian, with the harshness of the exposed concrete softened with wood, while generous floor-to-ceiling glazing ensures ample daylight inside, as well as framing the view.
BIG's own landscaping department was involved in creating multiple green paths and meeting points around and between buildings, which converge on the central rainwater collection pond.
This works by channeling rainwater directly from gutters on the houses and nearby roads into the pond, which acts as the repository for the rainwater and a nice gathering point for residents and wildlife. From here, water is pumped into a nearby treatment system and then into the homes for toilet flushing and washing machine use (the pipes are colored purple instead of the usual blue to ensure nobody could mistake it for normal potable water).
In all, the system reduces the local water grid usage by up to 40%, says water treatment company Aarhusvand. Obviously water scarcity is a huge concern worldwide at the moment and Aarhusvand also suggests the idea could perhaps be rolled out elsewhere.
Sources: BIG, Aarhusvand [in Danish]
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