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Zaha Hadid Architects reveals a modular housing platform for Honduras

Towering Timber

Zaha Hadid Architects reveals a modular housing platform for Honduras

Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA) has teamed with International engineering consultants AKT II and Hilson Moran Partnership to develop a residential kit-of-parts for the Caribbean island of Roatán, off the coast of Honduras.

Rather than build a community from the ground-up on the ecologically sensitive, currently underpopulated island and sell the vacant homes, the team has developed a digital platform for prospective homeowners to design their own structures and fill out the Roatán Próspera development. After a homeowner lays out their desired floorplan, the structure will algorithmically generate according to parcel size. Each home can range from one-to-five “voxels,” a cubic area of 376 square feet that’s 13 feet tall (making the largest available configuration 1,880 square feet).

The team is touting up to 15,000 possible configurations within those five voxels, but each will share common design elements and similar service locations to make installation easier. All modules will be shaded and oriented towards the water to encourage passive ventilation. One of the biggest benefits that the design team and developer Honduras Próspera LLC are touting is the system’s sustainability. Once a prospective homeowner has set up their ideal layout, the timber for the home is harvested from sustainably managed forests on the mainland, processed, and transported locally, then assembled off-site to cut down on the embodied energy in the construction process without disturbing the local environment. Flexibility also extends to the post-occupancy period, as the timber supports can be taken down and reconfigured if more or less space is needed, and communal modules, such as play areas and shaded structures inspired by palapas.

Interior rendering of a timber home on Roatán Próspera with swooping curves
A conversation pit module, bounded by an optional island. (Courtesy Zaha Hadid Architects)

Sustainability is a big feature the team is touting; the shade canopies will be optimally oriented and shaped for solar panels that will feed into included batteries to cover cloudy days, each structure will utilize an ultra-efficient envelope, and atmospheric water vapor will be collected and filtered for extra cooling when needed and potable water.

Of course, if homeowners don’t want to think through every last detail, pre-arranged furniture and room layouts have been included, such as a conversation pit module. From the renderings, it looks like timber will factor heavily into the interiors as well, being utilized for the floors and ceilings, but also that the signature curvy, parametric look ZHA is known for will be present throughout (check out the swooping islands and curving interior walls). Prospective buyers will also have the choice of contacting the same craftspeople to order furniture from the digital assets the platform provides.

Roatán Próspera will break ground later this year, though home pricing hasn’t been provided yet.