The fact that China finds a new affordable and environmentally friendly housing solution doesn’t come as a surprise. The economic giant is also the country with the largest population in the world and has already developed several options to meet its ever-growing demand for low-cost housing.
This time it’s a housing complex in the city of Beijing, right on the banks of Lake Pao. The 480-square-meters house, which rises as a curious compilation of plugin houses and was conceived as part of the project of development of an ecological city, uses 100% clean electricity, leaving a minimal carbon footprint. As if that wasn’t enough, these houses will have the protection of 10% of their lands as places of permanent cultivation or farming.
Even though, as we already mentioned, China has already developed other types of affordable housing, this is the first complex of its kind that also includes sustainability and ecological criteria. Aside from considering the impact on the city by focusing on avoiding greater congestion.
The house on the water
The complex that develops along Lake Pao in Xiong’an is located 100 kilometers (62 miles) southwest of Beijing. It consists of a group of houses built on a base of concrete piers that raise an entire plant or floor above the ground to allow rainwater to be absorbed into the ground. This reduces the impact of the construction on the lake ecosystem. The project is framed within China’s sponge city concept, which seeks to reduce extreme flooding, protect soils and decrease the contamination of populated areas. In the specific case of this construction, it allows to obtain a greater benefit of natural light by being at a height above the trees of the area and to enjoy a spectacular view of the lake. Not bad, don’t you think?
The entire complex has been prefabricated, reducing costs and using building materials that allow the modification of spaces over time, with minimum intervention, thus decreasing the likelihood of remodeling. This is achieved through construction panels developed by the People’s Architecture Office (PAO), which are subsequently integrated to the steel structure.
The panels include their lock systems that can be easily uninstalled with a single tool. This allows to increase, decrease or modify the spaces according to the needs of the users. Quite genius.
The criteria for building the plugin tower next to Lake Pao are based on sustainability and minimal aggression to the environment. The design includes floor-to-ceiling windows that provide maximum natural lighting and include a heating system integrated into the floor panels.
Also, the roofs are fully covered with solar panels that completely supply the structure with clean energy. The wall panels have maximum thermal and sonic insulation and the entire system has a sewage circuit that takes wastewater to an external treatment plant.
The entire project that is already under construction, is part of the ecological city project that hopes to be developed in Xiong’an. But it also serves as a model for other developments that are already beginning to be considered throughout the country with the objective of creating sustainable communities with housing that, being owned by the government, can be offered at a subsidized cost to facilitate the access to low-income families.