IN: Inspiration

Micro-Habitat Uses Aircrete

A new micro-habitat by Brazilian architect Felipe Campolina uses aircrete and allows users to escape from the city.


According to a report published by the United Nations in 2014, urbanisation has increased rapidly since 1950. More than half of all humans live in an urban area, and as this figure increases, the challenges of sustainable development will become more city-oriented in the future.

Felipe Campolina, a Brazilian architect, has proposed a short-term habitat that is fast-build and allows users to escape from the city for a short stay in other, less crowded environs. Designed as a getaway option, the module can however be applied to an urban setting in commercial and housing complexes. The basic module occupies 27m2 on the ground but may be adapted to any region or cultural situation; this is due partly to the aircrete, which can be made anywhere and is lightweight and low in cost.

PPC Imaginarium

With its main triangular frame, the so-called HT Refuge combines beauty with necessity and has two storeys that are connected by a ladder.

Although the module is compact (the floorspace is only 40m2), it comes fully equipped with a bedroom, bathroom, dining-room, kitchenette and patio. Central to its versatility, however, is the use of lightweight autoclaved aerated concrete (AAC) or ‘aircrete’ as building blocks. 

PPC Imaginarium

For the HT Refuge, aircrete is precast and then used for the lateral closures of the module. Compared to traditional concrete, aircrete is less dense and usually used in the form of concrete blocks. Air voids have been trapped inside the mix and give the aircrete its distinct cellular appearance. Unlike the denser version, aircrete uses no aggregates and is commonly made from Portland cement, lime and either pulverised fuel ash (PFA) or fine silica sand.

Not only is the material lightweight, the benefits include lower fuel usage, since aircrete is an insulator and thus lowers the costs of heating and energy needed to produce heat. The production of lime uses less energy, meanwhile, and PFA is a by-product of electricity generation, meaning aircrete could be a ‘greener’ alternative to traditional concrete.

PPC Imaginarium

Among Campolina’s projects is a bold concept for a skyscraper where housing units are portable and can move up and down without interfering with the neighbouring units. The design, much like HT Refuge, is a response to the needs of both human beings and the environment.

HT Refuge is a promising design in a world that struggles with reduced space and where factors like the environment demand frequent consideration.

Photo Credits: Felipe Campolina via Behance.

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