by Meghna MehtaMay 18, 2020
Zaha Hadid Architects unveiled their design for a modular housing project that can be customised by residents via a digital architectural programme. Due to materialise later this year, Roatán Próspera is an ecological and socially responsible residential development that is informed by the climate, topography and culture unique to its location. Roatán Próspera is a residential community of Roatán, the largest tropical Caribbean island located off the northern coast of Honduras.
Beginning with a thorough understanding into local supply chains, logistical details and construction methods, Zaha Hadid Architects have devised a strategy which maximises on vernacular resources and craftsmanship. Integrating local timber construction and climatic considerations with their newly-developed digital platform and engineering techniques, the project intends to economically support the island whilst providing a novel spatial experience to its residents. “Roatán Próspera will strengthen and diversify the local economy while creating homes defined by their natural environment,” relays Erick A Brimen, CEO of Honduras Próspera LLC.
Prioritising sustainably conscious design planning, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) intend to source timber from certified forests on Honduran mainland to use it as the primary structural elements of Roatán Próspera. Post sourcing of the forest logs, they will be subjected to local treatment where the architects will use digital information technologies to ensure waste and pollution are monitored and reduced.
The dimensions of the timber units deployed have been calculated to fall within the constraints of local transportation networks, further contributing in keeping the carbon footprint of the project at a minimum. The lightweight timber also allows for an adaptive foundation system to be prefabricated off site and preserve the ecological diversity characteristic of the area.
In partnership with computational engineers AKT II, ZHA has designed a "kit of parts" developed around a manufacture and assembly (DFMA) approach that encourages local craftsmen to actively collaborate in the design process. Outlining the steps involved in the build of a Roatán Próspera residence, the kit includes the light timber structural parts allowing for quick and easy assembly and disassembly ideal for modular construction. Services and insulation will be pre-assembled and installed within this structural framework. The kit also enables recycling of individual elements after use in order to minimise material waste.
The digital configuration platform has been developed using a parametric design software to allow home owners to customise the design of their individual units. The platform adapts varying configurations of standardised parts to create unique residences that cater to the specific needs of family members. Allowing the clients to spatially organise and curate their residences not only enables them to meet their own design criteria but also promotes sharing of costs and resources amongst neighbours through flexible communal modules.
The interactive platform asks the resident to select the location and size of their customised module using ‘voxels’ - a unit of graphic information. These voxels define the three-dimensional volumes of occupational and exclusion right spaces granted to the home owner with their selection. Each voxel measures 35 meters and is four meters tall. Choosing from one voxel up to a maximum of five, the platform has made 1,50,000 arrangements available to the client. The platform also enables the home owner to choose from a variety of built-in furniture modules to suit individual preferences.
In consultation with environmental engineering consultancy Hilson Moran, each home is envisioned to be fundamentally sustainable, harnessing passive environmental control and water harvesting strategies. The modules are designed to be self-shading, using curved palapa roofs to capture photovoltaic arrays for renewable power generation. Expansive terraces with rounded balconies and verdant space are positioned to take advantage of the prevailing sea breeze, naturally ventilating the interior spaces and reducing the overall energy consumption of the build. In addition to this, the Zaha Hadid Architects have made provisions for supplementary cooling-harvesting and filtering water, which is then supplied to each home.
(Text by Saamia Makharia, an intern at stirworld.com)