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French Firm Touts Passive ‘Lego Homes’

Friday, September 16, 2016

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A French company looking to make homebuilding quick, easy and eco-friendly has begun to expand internationally, building what some are calling a “real-life Lego home” in Spain.

PopUp House, founded in 2013, provides materials to build a house in a matter of weeks, using insulating blocks that simply stack, assembled in many cases with no special tools required. The buildings are created to meet Passive House standards, and require “almost no additional heating,” according to the company.

Completed PopUp house, Spain
Images: PopUp House

The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in Spain was built in two weeks using only an electric screwdriver.

Despite the Lego comparisons and lack of special tools, it’s not exactly IKEA homebuilding: While the company supplies materials and instructions, it also arranges for a team of qualified builders to do the work.

Already Built

The company has created several projects—homes, offices and home additions—in France already, but the newly built home in Armentera, Spain, is the first PopUp House in that country, signifying a move to expand for the easy-build house firm.

According to Business Insider, the new Spanish house, built by a construction team called Wilbat House, was purchased by a couple for about $211,000. The three-bedroom, two-bathroom home was built in two weeks using only an electric screwdriver, according to PopUp House’s founder.

PopUp house under construction

In addition to the insulating blocks, the PopUp House models include wooden paneling in their construction.

There were some delays in the process leading up to the construction, which took place in May and June, as the company worked with local officials to make sure everything was to code; the entire project took about four months.

PopUp History

PopUp House was dreamt up by architect Corentin Thiercelin, of Marseilles-based Multipod Studio. The company offers kits ranging from 95 square meters (1,022 square feet) to 230 square meters (2,475 square feet).

The insulating blocks offer a structure with no thermal bridge, the architect explains, making for an efficient building envelope. The blocks are 30 centimeters thick and made from recyclable materials, the company notes, and the houses are as easy to take down as they are to assemble.

In addition to the blocks, the PopUp House models include wooden paneling in their construction, and many have exposed wood on their exteriors, adding aesthetic value. Builders have a choice of materials to work with, which affects the final cost.

The materials are estimated at about $1,200 to $1,900 per square meter, and the building instructions themselves come at a fee of $1,640, Business Insider reports.

International Expansion, PopUp Neighborhood

Now that PopUp house has made its way beyond France, the company is eying expansion elsewhere including the U.S. and U.K., according to Business Insider. First, it must find construction firms to work with in the countries where it hopes to open up shop.

In addition to expanding out of France, PopUp house announced last month that it was undertaking to build an entire PopUp House neighborhood, in Brittany. According to plans, 11 PopUp Houses will be built at one development there.


Tagged categories: Architects; Architecture; Asia Pacific; Building Envelope; Cladding; Commercial Construction; Construction; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Latin America; North America; Passive house; Residential Construction

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (9/16/2016, 10:20 AM)

Having watched the video on their site, the "only a screwdriver" is inaccurate. At the very least they are also using a saw to cut the flooring, plus levels, ladders, scaffolding, clamps, something to cut the house wrap, et cetera.

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