The minimalist prefab home
A French manufacturer has unveiled a minimalist prefab home that nature lovers can put up in the middle of the countryside. Tiny and circular, Lumipod is just 5.45m wide and 3.25m high and has one side made entirely of a huge, curved floor-to-ceiling window.
It’s designed to make a minimal impact on the natural environment, and is constructed with simple, rough materials. Lumicene, the company behind the Lumipod’s development, says it can be made in two to four months, delivered anywhere in the world and assembled in just two days. You’d need a connection to mains electricity, water and drainage, though the company is also looking into developing a completely off-grid version.
The home follows a current French trend for simple, prefab residences, and incorporates a steel structure clad on one side in burned wood – the other housing the window. An established technique in Japan, charring the surface of wood makes it waterproof and protects it from decomposition and damage by insects and the sun. The walls, floor and roof of the Lumipod are insulated with mineral wool and polystyrene.
The window slides open like a patio door and is designed to let sunlight pour in all day, warming the home naturally wherever the sun is in the sky. It’s double-glazed and filled with argon for extra insulation, meaning that although there is a heating and ventilation system in place, the Lumipod is largely heated naturally. Inside, there’s a bedroom, toilet and shower room and utility room, though no kitchen.
A move towards natural homes
Developed in le Chablais, in the French Alps, Lumipod is now being manufactured in Lyon, where Lumicene is based. It’s not the only one of its kind though. A St Petersburg firm called SA Lab has developed something similar based on the traditional Scandinavian grill house – a type of garden building.
Called Flexse, it is made from completely recyclable materials, assembled on-site and can be supported by different types of foundations, which means it can be installed in remote areas – the company says it can even be built on water. It’s customisable too, with different finishes available.
Such innovations could prove popular in Europe where land is more accessible. Here in the UK, however, restrictions on buying and clearing land would continue to apply – although the prefab homes could lead to interest in more sustainable living here.
If your work involves trying the development of sustainable property or land remediation, you could be eligible for a tax rebate through the government’s research and development tax relief scheme, which is designed to help companies working on innovative science, technology and green architecture projects. At R&D Tax Solutions, we specialise in helping companies make successful R&D tax claims. Have a look at our page on how to calculate r&d tax credits to find out more – and call us on 0161 298 1010 to see how we can help.