Research leader/author: Dr Cristian Suau
Main collaborators: Carmelo Zappulla
Finantial Support: MEC, AGAUR & NTNU
Clients: NGOs, informal cities, emergency housing
Publication: scientific journals, proceedings, online media
Type: design patent, , water harvesting, autonomous dwellings
Year: 2003 onwards
Budget: EUR65000 (research & prototypes)
Building systems: Euro-pallets, galvanised connectors, timber cladding, standard insulation, pad foundations

Purchasing a house is one of the biggest expenses that a dweller ever invests. But, does it need to be costly? One field where costs can be reduced and where affordable building solutions are undergoing great experimentation is the domestic application of junk or disused materials. Also the search of new elementary dwellings is partly illustrated by the number of self-builder and designers who are making houses utilizing, for instance, tea-containers or reconditioned shipping boards, by re-adapting various materials under low-tech manufacturing. However, what is the “cutting edge” of eco-dwelling systems today?
The PHS© project performs as an affordable housing structure based on pallet units capable of becoming an elemental dwelling. Also it provides thermal comfort by using passive techniques. What should we design instead? Here, PHS© also appears as a manifesto of Elementarism against over-packaged architecture, exploring the use of delimited models as a strategy for freeing up unexpected trails of spatial production. Thus this design process provides new flexibility and interoperability, by identifying potential obstacles; exploring possible architectures; looking at potential low-technologies and defining architectural models and guidelines. It is an open design system, involving several general parameters such as programmatic condition, climates, location, a flexible and lightweight structural frame and a cheap budget. Inevitable, we may find specific design parameters in PHS©: flexible and collapsible plan (variable divisions of interior spaces and flexible furniture) and low technology construction. Basically, this study is focused on architectural, constructive and climatic tool design both to achieve simpler wood-frame constructive solutions -applicable both in buildings and furniture- using recyclable shipping pallet boards and also to generate an indoor thermal comfort by passive energy systems applied in experimental sheds located in cold, temperate and arid lands.
This research was initially been supported by the Ministry of Education, Spain (2003) and carried out at Chalmers University of Technology. It also has been registered as patent design in the Swedish Patent and Registration Office. Since 2004, an advanced applied research on PHS© prototypes took place at the Faculty of Architecture and Fine Arts, NTNU, Norway. It constitutes a continuation of previous studies on potential wooden architecture since 2001, by using disused or recycled pallet boards as wood-frame systems both in dwelling framing and mobile furniture.



PLEA 2003 - The 20th Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, Chile, Noviembre 2003

PLEA 2004 - The 21st Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, The Netherlands, September 2004

PLEA2005 - The 22nd Conference on Passive and Low Energy Architecture, Lebanon, November 2005


PHS© - transportation  


PHS© - production scheme  

PHS© - typologies: Cube & A-frame housing

PHS© - design patent  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - base module  




PHS© - modular system  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - fabrication  

PHS© - mobile furniture  

PHS© - mobile furniture  

PHS© - housing types  

PHS© - housing types  

PHS© - initial design  

PHS© - housing frame 1  

PHS© - housing frame 2  

PHS© - housing frame 3  

PHS© - housing frame 4  

PHS© - housing frame 5  

PHS© - housing frame 6  

PHS© - housing frame 7  

PHS© - views  

PHS© - compact shed  

PHS© - compact shed  

PHS© - summer shelters, barceloneta  

PHS© - public pavilion in square  

PHS© - floating shelter, trondheim  

PHS© - summer shed in sweden  

PHS© - compact house, ebro delta  

PHS© - mining shed, atacama desert  

PHS© - collapsible shading devices   

W-allet house, cardiff  

PHS© - modular frame  

PHS© - triangular house  

PHS© - triangular house  

PHS© - triangular house in tundra  

PHS© - triangular house in  refugee settlement