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Students design stackable house of the future, perfect for urban living

Most people want to live close to the city, be it for the vibrant lifestyle, or for an easier work commute but congestion and increasingly high housing costs mean it’s just a dream for many.

Enter some savvy students in New York City who have developed an ingenious strategy to make city living not only infinitely more possible, but also more eco-friendly.

The undergraduate students at New York City College of Technology have designed a prototype home that is a glimpse into the future. The DURA house (diverse, urban, resilient, adaptable) is an impressive open-concept one-bedroom with features that make it a zero-energy, solar, weather-resistant living space.

Its weather resistant  attributes mean it could withstand disasters like Hurricane Sandy. The students design of a stackable unit including three layers of breathable membrane and air-tight sealing has survived testing by blowers.

Builders are currently completing the design that resulted from the collective efforts of 60 students, and slots neatly within NYC’s urban landscape at the end of a pier at the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

Alexander Aptekar, the City Tech professor overseeing the project, said “To go from having to draw it to seeing it live is an amazing experience for them.”

The environmentally conscious home looking straight towards the future, will compete worldwide in the Solar Decathalon – a student design contest in September. This will require disassembling the modular home into three parts, which will then be transported to Irvine, California for judging.

The house will then return to brooklyn where the students hope to donate it to someone in need, perhaps a disabled veteran.

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The simple bottle could offer the answer to both homelessness and landfill in Africa

Using the technique known as “bottle walls”, people are able to build a two-bedroom home using 14,000 recycled plastic bottles, for about a quarter the cost of a conventional home.

The concept hits two birds with one stone, addressing the issues of both homelessness and pollution. Nigeria, for instance, has a serious housing shortage as a result of affordability. As the most populous country of the region, it’s confronted by the problem of 16 million people struggling without shelter. The country also battles a never-ending battle with plastic waste accumulating.

Nigerians have been getting help from German firm Ecotec Environmental Solutions, which teaching them how to build houses with this technique.

The solid walls are formed a model where bottles are filled with sand and then stacked on their sides. The materials are held together with cement filling frames, around a foot or more in thickness that are able to insulate and protect the people inside.

The ingenious concept provides a comfortable home for the inhabitants, as I retains a pleasant temperature all year round. Furthermore, the homes are bulletproof, fireproof and can withstand earthquakes.

The buildings can only be three stories high, as a result of the weight of the sand-filled bottles. To top it off these are no prefab-sprouts, with each building sporting a unique, colourful look as a result of recycled bottle caps.

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