Architecture

World's first Biological House is built from farming waste

World's first Biological House...
The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
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The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
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The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
So far as sustainable construction materials go, tomato stems and seaweed certainly belong at the less structurally sound end of the spectrum
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So far as sustainable construction materials go, tomato stems and seaweed certainly belong at the less structurally sound end of the spectrum
The Biological House is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction
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The Biological House is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction
The Biological House is designed to be modular, which means it can be tailored to meet a customer's needs
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The Biological House is designed to be modular, which means it can be tailored to meet a customer's needs
Further to making use of sustainable construction materials in the form of farm waste, the Biological House also negates the carbon emissions that would arise from burning them
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Further to making use of sustainable construction materials in the form of farm waste, the Biological House also negates the carbon emissions that would arise from burning them
The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
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The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
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The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
The Biological House is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction
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The Biological House is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction
The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
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The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
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The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
The Biological House is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction
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The Biological House is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction
The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
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The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
Interior of the Biological House
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Interior of the Biological House
The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
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The Biological House opened its doors to the public this week
Further to making use of sustainable construction materials in the form of farm waste, the Biological House also negates the carbon emissions that would arise from burning them
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Further to making use of sustainable construction materials in the form of farm waste, the Biological House also negates the carbon emissions that would arise from burning them
Interior of the Biological House
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Interior of the Biological House
Farm waste or construction material?
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Farm waste or construction material?
Farm waste or construction material?
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Farm waste or construction material?
Farm waste or construction material?
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Farm waste or construction material?
Construction of the Biological House started with architecture firm GXN teaming up with partners from the Danish farming sector to gather biomaterials that would otherwise be burned for energy
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Construction of the Biological House started with architecture firm GXN teaming up with partners from the Danish farming sector to gather biomaterials that would otherwise be burned for energy
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Construction of the Biological House started with architecture firm GXN teaming up with partners from the Danish farming sector to gather biomaterials that would otherwise be burned for energy
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Construction of the Biological House started with architecture firm GXN teaming up with partners from the Danish farming sector to gather biomaterials that would otherwise be burned for energy
The performance of the boards used in the construction of the Biological House was tested by the Danish Technological Institute
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The performance of the boards used in the construction of the Biological House was tested by the Danish Technological Institute
Board for the Biological House made from woodchip
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Board for the Biological House made from woodchip
Board made from eelgrass
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Board made from eelgrass
Board for the Biological House made from upcycled straw
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Board for the Biological House made from upcycled straw
Board for the Biological House made from seaweed
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Board for the Biological House made from seaweed
The performance of the boards used in the construction of the Biological House was tested by the Danish Technological Institute
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The performance of the boards used in the construction of the Biological House was tested by the Danish Technological Institute
Board for the Biological House made from tomato stems
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Board for the Biological House made from tomato stems

So far as sustainable construction materials go, tomato stems and seaweed would seem to belong at the weaker end of the spectrum. But the team behind the conceptual Biological House are showing what's possible when you apply some innovative thinking and advanced upcycling techniques.

The Biological House was created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners, including Copenhagen-based design firm Een TIl Een, sustainable architecture firm GXN, wood-treatment company Kebony and the Danish Ministry of Environment.

To begin, GXN teamed up with partners from the Danish farming sector to gather biomaterials that would otherwise be burned for energy, things like grass, straw, tomato stems and seaweed. These were then combined into composites to maximize their strength and pressed into boards for cladding.

Board for the Biological House made from tomato stems
Board for the Biological House made from tomato stems

Kebony then treated these softwoods by applying heat and a bio-based liquid. This polymerizes the cell walls within the wooden material, causing it to take on the properties of tropical hardwood along with a pleasant rich-brown color, which develops a silver-gray patina after exposure to the sun and rain. The performance of these boards was tested by the Danish Technological Institute, and according to the powers that be, help form a structure that rivals the strength of a regular home.

"It sounds like science fiction that you can build a house from things such as tomato stems, straw and seaweed, which is just as durable as normal buildings and at the time has a healthy economy and complies with the rules," says Danish Environmental Minister Kirsten Brosbøl. "However, the Biological House shows that it is possible here and now. I appreciate that way we really get some value from materials that otherwise would end up at an incineration plant."

The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners
The Biological House created by a multidisciplinary team involving more than 40 partners

Further using of sustainable construction materials, the Biological House negates the carbon emissions that would arise from burning them. It also sits on a ground anchoring system known as screw piles rather than a foundation made from concrete, a notoriously carbon-intensive material. On top of all that, the house is designed to be modular, which means it can be tailored to meet a customer's needs, be put up quickly and then disassembled without leaving a trace.

The Biological House, which opened its doors to the public this week, is the first construction to be completed at Biotope in the Danish town of Middlefart, an exhibition park for sustainable construction.

"It's been a long project, and we have all certainly learnt a great deal over the course of planning and construction," said Kim Christofte CEO of Een til Een. "It has been a pleasure to watch the team find so many clever solutions to the problems encountered along the way and we are delighted to finally open the doors to share this unique house with the public."

Source: Kebony

5 comments
SammyC
From the look of it, you can use the process to make panels from pretty much anything (within reason). I was going to say, fiber and organic but I'm pretty sure you could just leave the plastic twine waste shown in the pics in with the tomato stems and it's all be just fine. Corn stems and wheat straw come to mind as good, readily available materials.. anyway, I'm curious why they essentially just built a stick house using regular lumber and materials and then clad it in these new panels. Heck, they already have thick straw panels that serve as insulation and load bearing members that they could have used to really be able to claim sustainable construction. Btw, the screw pile construction is a cool concept that I'd never seen. Not as a full on foundation for a big structure anyway. Turns out, they've been around forever and are a pretty solution. Leaning is fun! Haha. Anyway, cool project and informative article. Thanks Nick!
Vernon Miles Kerr
If such building materials could be made from harvested water hyacinth it might be a great solution to the growing worldwide problem of boat traffic being blocked on inland waterways . e.g. http://vietnamnews.vn/english-through-the-news/267196/water-hyacinth-chokes-rivers.html#cqOfj6tOWaSHzlXr.97
YuraG
I wish my house builders had used this tech. Well done!
DFrancis
Perhaps fibres from problematic plants can be used, such as Japanese knotweed and rhododendron.
Bob Stuart
Does it swell and buckle like chip board if it gets wet? The process sounds very similar. Wasn't the lean-to the "first biological house?" Why not count log cabins and grass huts?