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Competition project "[Re]build". Hemp concrete house in Ukraine

03 of February '23

The fifth edition of the international MICROHOME competition, organized by the Buildner platform, bore fruit with successful Polish teams. {tag:studenci}, a graduate of Warsaw University of Technology, also submitted her proposal. Her [Re]build project, which is a temporary solution that can be used in war-ravaged Ukraine, was shortlisted for the competition!

The annual international MICROHOME competition, was held for the fifth time in cooperation with Archive Books. The initiative aims to highlight the merits of small-scale architecture. Contest organizers encouraged participants to include energy-efficient solutions in their contest design , reducing construction costs and minimizing environmental impact. Participants were to propose off-grid solutions for electricity generation and storage, rainwater use, or waste management. The functional layout of the house was to provide the highest possible comfort for two people in a small space (twenty-five square meters). Importantly, the facility could be designed for any location in the world.

 Część dzienna domu Dom nocą

The space of the house during the day and at night

© Ewelina Rybus

We wrote about the results of the competition and the full lineup as part of the double-winning Grounded House project by Alicja Adela Jarochowska and Aleksandra Musiał, architecture students at the Warsaw University of Technology. Meanwhile, the list of shortlisted projects included Ewelina Rybus's [Re]build project, for which she proposed Ukraine as the location.

Projekt [Re]build, konstrukcja Zabudowa do przechowywania i spania

The house was designed with a frame structure

© Ewelina Rybus


The choice of the project's location was dictated by recent events taking place across our eastern border. The war in Ukraine has claimed thousands of lives. Many people have lost their homes and have been forced to flee the war zones. Not only larger cities, but also small towns and villages are being destroyed. The scale of the losses leads us to believe that future reconstruction will take years, but it is already worth thinking about temporary solutions that will enable the homeless to return to their hometowns. My project called [Re]build is an attempt to find an answer to this problem," says Ewelina Rybus.

Dom z betonu konopnego

home can be a temporary solution

© Ewelina Rybus

hemp concrete house

The architect designed the house in a frame construction—simple to build and requiring no heavy equipment. Her concept makes use of local materials, such as hemp shives and wood. The use of locally available materials is particularly important, she says, given the destruction of roads in Ukraine, which limit transportation options. It also has the effect of reducing embedded energy. The walls of the facility are made of hempcrete [hempcrete] prepared on site.

Schemat produkcji betonu konopnego i budowania domu Schemat przepuszczalności betonu konopnego

The concept uses local materials and hempcrete

© Ewelina Rybus

Hemp concrete is a biodegradable material with a negative carbon footprint. Good insulating properties and high thermal mass make this material ideal for the Ukrainian climate. In winter, heat will not escape outside the building, and in summer the interior will not overheat. Unlike many commonly used materials, hemp concrete does not contain any harmful chemicals, which has a positive effect on the health and well-being of the residents, the author explains.

 Podwójne łóżko w ciągu dnia jest chowane w szafie, a dwa łóżka pojedyncze w platformie Nocą strefy oddziela materiał inspirowany ukraińskimi tkaninami rushnyk

The interior is flexible, at night the living area transforms into a sleeping space

© Ewelina Rybus

flexible space

The house was designed with a maximum family of four in mind. The flexibility of the interior provides a comfortable space for working and relaxing during the day and two separate spaces for sleeping at night. The author separated the sleeping spaces with built-ins for storing belongings and a fabric that references traditional hand-embroidered Ukrainian fabrics called rushnyk. The double bed is tucked into a closet during the day, while the two single beds are tucked into a platform.

Projekt [Re]build, rzut w ciągu dnia Projekt [Re]build, rzut nocą

View of the house during the day and at night

© Ewelina Rybus

When the family is able to move into the rebuilt house, the small house can serve as additional space. The structure can also be demolished and the materials reused in another construction. Before that happens, however, the house will provide its occupants with healthy living conditions and allow them to recover, Ewelina Rybus concludes.

Read also about the architecture of the shelter—pavilions by Shigeru Ban.

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