egg house

RCA students inspired by sustainability

Latest wave of design industrial and architecture graduates design for a sustainable future at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Engineer and design graduate Igor Safronov’s has designed a biomimic, sustainable house inspired by the strength of an egg. The project, called ZEH, was exhibited at the Royal College of Art’s Sustain 2013, which encourages students to launch projects inspired by sustainability. The initiative is unique in the sense that it encourages students to collaborate cross-discipline, allowing architects to learn from engineers, and artists to learn from scientists.

Safranov’s ‘egg-shaped’ structural design has been developed to mimic an actual egg. Though extremely thin, the outer shell of an egg is strong enough to protect a vulnerable foetus inside. With this in mind, Safranov’s egg-shaped house is half submerged underground to give it further stability.

“It is reported that buildings and homes emit 40 per cent CO2e into our environment. That makes them the biggest polluter of the Earth ecosystem,” said Safronov, who began his career in the safe building industry before returning to university. 

“As an engineer I clearly see that the heating process in a house is a process of generating of the heat produced by some source and spreading all this heat inevitably to the atmosphere, through the house walls, windows, roof, doors etc. To shelter the thermal mass of the house, the underground system will be balanced against the current earth's temperature, therefore ceasing to depend on day/night or hot/cold seasonal temperature drops.”

To allow light to flood the submerged areas of the house, large light tunnels run from the roof of the structure to the ground floor. Fewer materials, refuse of encasement and skilled labour allow construction workers to complete the construction process over a ten-day period.

“ZEH is a kind of dwelling, which requires neither heating nor cooling. It will be most effective in geographical zones, which have a continental climate with vast differences between day-night and summer-winter seasonal temperatures,” said Safranov. “Based on modern engineering and architectural design, new materials and robotic technologies, this type of dwelling is aimed at representing a high luxury level of architecture, environment and style.”

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