Casa Ojalá – the sustainable, portable home

Materials World magazine
25 Mar 2019

Mobile, adaptable and sustainable, the 27m2 home presented at Milan Design Week this month.

A model of a portable micro house, designed and patented by Italian Architect Beatrice Bonzanigo, was showcased at this year’s Milan Design Week, held from 9-14 April. The house can cater to different lifestyles, as well as the materials available locally and locations. Able to adapt into 20 different layouts, the 27m2 home can be assembled with pieces that come in an easy-to-build pack, with a track for it to stand on. A constructor is sent by the architect to set up each mini home, Bonzanigo told Materials World.

‘The materials used are wood, textiles and the hidden structure is in steel. Wood and fabrics could be different every time [a new house is built], depending on the customer’s choice and also on the ability to find them around the site, as a matter of flexibility, aesthetic and sustainability of the entire project,’ Bonzanigo said.

The house works using similar concepts to those on boats. ‘There is a mechanical manual system made of ropes, pulleys and cranks mainly hidden in the central pillar and in the two wooden platforms of the ground floor and ceiling. Via the manual mechanical system, the owner can choose how to enjoy the home layout - internal and external walls can almost disappear and reappear, both walls can roll up, beds can appear below the floor opening hatches, slices of the ceiling can be also opened – almost 70% of it.

‘A central circular furniture divided in seven slices with different functions comes up from the floor with a push and pull manual system. Internal walls are all separated so one can decide to have just one big bathroom, or two bedrooms, or one big living room, or many other solutions, depending on which wall one decides to open or close. A stair made in rope and wood can also appear to climb up to the terrace.

‘Visuals to the outdoor can always change too, deciding which external wall to roll up. There are two layers of external walls – one in wood, one in fabric - so one can decide the type of wall to have. Every five minutes, everything can change,’ Bonzanigo said.

Designed to function anywhere, the house has a rainwater collection system, photovoltaic panels on the roof and a small septic tank.

‘Once assembled, the house is based on its manual mechanical system and does not need any external assistance, neither human nor technological,’ Bonzanigo said.

The house will come at a fixed cost, which includes structure, mechanical and hydraulic system, as well as some finishings, with the option to choose several other aspects of the building design to make it feel unique for the homeowner, depending on local materials. The architect-team is now looking for an investor and they are working on developing a prototype.