Sustainable design: touring a fully bio-based home

in Sustainable Design

How can the building industry respond to sustainability needs?
Part of the answer lies in bio-based materials: materials that are made out of renewable resources, preferably waste.

The Exploded View Beyond Building (opened in a new window/tab) is an exhibition project presented at Dutch Design Week 2021 (opened in a new window/tab). Consisting of a detailed architectural model and an actual building, it is aimed at showcasing the potential of bio-based materials and circular processes in the building industry.

Let’s tour the main rooms of this home, exploring the wealth of sustainable inspiration they offer!

Illustration depicting the bio-based home.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab)

exterior

The exterior of The Exploded View Beyond Building features a rich mix of sustainable building materials.

The pathway leading to the house is paved with mud bricks from drenched local rivers. Outdoor, a decorative wall shows the application of locally sourced clay and sand for construction purposes. And the building's external cladding is made of straw.
The roof showcases several different materials including recycled wood, seaweed, and cork modules that – besides proving the suitability of this well-known material for exterior applications – become a substrate for plants, automatically growing a green roof.

Drone shot of the building exterior.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck & Jeroen van der Wielen
Entrance pavement made of mud bricks.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab)
Wall made of locally sourced soil.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck & Jeroen van der Wielen
Straw external cladding.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck & Jeroen van der Wielen
View of the roof showing the different finishes.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab)

living & communal spaces

One of the biggest highlights of the living area is a dramatic textile wall made with algae and dyed with natural pigments. Developed for the fashion industry, this material clearly lends itself to interior applications as well!

The home also features a number of food-based materials, including popcorn or rice husks wall panels, mango residues leather, kombucha (fermented tea) panels, and tiles made with discarded milk protein or eggshells.
These food-based materials make use of food byproducts (such as eggshells) as well as edible food that’s discarded every day (such as milk), proposing ways to recover the waste of our less-than-perfect food chains.

Front view of the algae wall.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Nanno Simonis & Eric Melander
Close-up of the algae wall.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Carolyn Raff (opened in a new window/tab)
View into a room made with food-waste materials.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Nanno Simonis & Eric Melander
Close-up view of food-waste floor tiles.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck

kitchen

The kitchen of The Exploded View Beyond Building is an ode to food in that it presents several uses of food waste for interior finishes and tableware.

Materials go from eggshells and oyster shells to seaweeds and corn leaves, in a rainbow of natural colours and textures.

Kitchen view with food based finishes and tableware.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck & Jeroen van der Wielen
Kitchen view showing a decorative hanging tapestry.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck & Jeroen van der Wielen

bedroom

The bedroom is finished with a burlap waste + bio-based plastic composite. The origami-like panels can be folded in different shapes, adding depth to the space while leaving the option of future reconfigurations open.

A planted air filtering system and all-natural bedding create a calming environment that owes a lot to nature.

Front view of the bedroom.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Nanno Simonis & Eric Melander
Bedroom view showing the origami 3D finishes.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck

bathroom

The bathroom features sewage waste materials, repurposing the byproducts of toilet occurrences in ways that are hard to believe.

The dwarf wall enclosing the toilet is 3D printed out of an innovative material that filters toilet paper cellulose out of sewage water, turning it into a suitable composite for construction. And the gas coming out of this process is further reused as tile glazing, using the waste of a waste repurposing process. Just incredible!

Model of the 3D printed toilet design.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck
Bathroom view showing the 3D printed wall in real life.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab) – Photo: Oscar Vinck & Jeroen van der Wielen
Close-up of bathroom wall.<span class="sr-only"> (opened in a new window/tab)</span>
Credit: Biobased Creations (opened in a new window/tab)

a living material library

The Exploded View Beyond Building features around 100 bio-based materials in total, presenting many different uses of fungi and bacteria, food waste, seaweeds and algae, soil, plants, textile waste, and more.

In so doing, it becomes a sort of living material library, showing the aesthetic quality and practical use of materials that are often discussed as interesting sustainable innovations but not as frequently considered for real-life applications.

Equally inspiring from a design and sustainability perspective, this project is a glimpse into what building could mean in a not-so-far-away future!

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