Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on February 1, 2009
Not since Erno Rubik released his little toy puzzle has the cube seen so much attention. London-based architect David Adjaye teamed up with photographer Ed Reeve to create a moderately sized home in East London’s Hackney suburb. The buzz about this 150 square meter prefabricated cube: it’s completely covered in timbers instead of brick or cement like neighboring buildings, which reduces its carbon footprint.
It can also be constructed in five days.
If you’re like me, you’re asking whether or not wood is sustainable. Although it takes great amounts of energy to make steel, cement and bricks, it also takes quite a bit of effort to get lumber from the forest to the construction site. That’s where the cube has an advantage, because it was built with pre-constructed panels that reduce waste, and about 70% of the wood used came from forests certified for their forward-thinking practices. Kudos should go to those managing these forests.
However, to every success story, there’s a downside. Although the cube looks very hip (if minimalist is your thing), the overall design appears to be more about form than function. Sustainability hinges on using local materials to create structures that drastically reduce energy inputs. I couldn’t find mention of using renewable energy or recycling rainwater, which are baseline ideas in sustainability today.
The other curiosity is that the cube seems to dominate the landscape instead of melding into it. Perhaps a round one next time?