Add to Collection


ADEX. Single Housing System competition for Actar Advanced Architecture Contest. Finalist.
ADEX _ housing system
{2005 / 5th semester }

1st Advanced Architecture Contest _ finalist / published
ADAPT structure to site
DEFORM space with program
EXPOSE systems to events

ADEX is prefabricated module-based living unit. Theconstruction and energy-resource systems contemplate ADEX’s adaptation to anygiven site in which its structure might be supported. This living unit absorbsand recycles the resources or wastes available whether in its manufacturingprocess or during its inhabitation use. The construction system is meant to bestructurally reversible, meaning that the unit can be located and relocatedanyplace also allowing it to adapt to an evolving program, where an expansionor reduction of spaces might be needed. ADEX does not present an immediate orultimate response to the ‘sustainable living’; ADEX is meant to evolve, it’s asystem that invents and renovates in order to present new solutions forachieving its adaptation to any conceivable location and human need.


The only requirements that the site must present in orderto be a viable location for ADEX are to have a support capacity for thestructure (whether is horizontal, vertical or point-based) and to have thesufficient energy-resources required for the function of the desired services.The location of the ADEX living-unit will be determinant on the level ofutilization of resources and energy sources in a SUSTAINABLE way. This‘site-determination’ ranges from the optional use of external resources (i.e.water, gas, electricity, etc.) up to the point where the unit is SELF-SUFICIENT. Just as any toyconstruction pieces (i.e. Lego, Mecano, etc.) ADEX uses a simple piece assemblysystem to provide a quick and effective response to establish a living unitbased on a given site. Taking further this analogy, ADEX may follow a ‘modelguide’ that aids its construction given certain variables and characteristicsof a site and context. The pieces are inter-exchangeable between any givenmodels and can be removed or repositioned anytime (just taking the precautionto pause the respective services that they provide). Certain constructionpieces as well as the services they might provide will prove to be moreconvenient in a determinate place given its variables or circumstances. ADEX’s‘construction system’ is designed in a way its capable to suffice further needsor integrate future inventions and technologies that would increase its‘sustainable’ nature and the further adaptation of the human living to anygiven environment or circumstances it might face.


The triangle-basedconstruction system was chosen in order to allow a broad rangeFORMAL-FUNCTIONAL response in defining this customizable living unit. ADEXtakes advantage of the surfaces, edges and nodes inherent of the structure inorder to use them for the distribution of services through out the living unitdelivering them to the specific points where they’ll be used. With thisprinciple, the pieces and modules used to seam-construct the unit, go beyondthe mere structural or sheltering function in order to conceive a service-fusedconstruction.  The basis of theconstruction geometry comes from the combination of the three measures thatcompose a triangle-rectangle (sides 3-4-5). The final set of figures is made upof 3 equilateral triangles, 6 isosceles triangles and the original trianglerectangle. These figures are then proportionally scaled to determine the finalsize of the construction panels for the ADEX living unit. The final panels’side measures are 0.75m, 1.00m, and 1.25m, which prove to be structurallyviable as well as manageable during the assembly and dismounting process. Inorder to provide an adequate an effective structure system, the panels combinean assorted set of auxiliary connectors that make possible the structural andfunctional use of the installation built-in panels. Among these auxiliary itemsthere are length-adjustable posts, flexible layered or weaved meshes, surfacepanel connectors (for multi-layered surfaces), and two kinds of node-linkagefor connecting installations contained in surface panels or at their intersectededges.


The sustainablenature of any given construction doesn’t deal exclusively with the operationalprocesses that it undertakes while it is inhabited. This nature might as wellbe applied to the construction process required to achieve the living unit. Webelieve that recycling is not a question of technology or its availability butalso of creativity and ingenious contributions that lead to new ways of reusingwaste material and other unused or discarded materials. SUSTAINABILITY addresses the task utilizing resources in a way that their availability tofuture generations is not jeopardized. Even though sustainability involves theuse of passive systems it must be considered (far from passive or inactive) aset of multiple inter-ACTIONS. Preventing the environment and resources fromwasting away must deal with development, technology, information, energy,recycling, and creating.  

We propose thecreation of a construction system based on recycled waste material ranging fromagricultural to industrial output. The prefabricated modules and pieces ofrecycled materials are designed to be an ‘open-flexible system’ where recycledmaterial pieces conform a set of systems which feed form their environment inorder to  provide services (in asustainable way) to the ADEX inhabitants and continue recycling other materialsas they function. Numerous recycled materials have been developed from organicfibers (Environ, FlexForm, NCFR Homasote, LifeCycle) as well as from severalplastics (Stockbord, EcoPanel, Plaswood, Syndecrete). These recycled materialscan be industrialized for the creation of standardized prefabricated pieces forthe ADEX construction system.

ENERGY &RESOURCES (from parasitism to symbiosis)

ADEX is aconstruction system that integrates the distribution, process, and recycle ofresources into its structure as a result construction pieces aren’t definedexclusively in terms of form, manufacture, or structural capability. In orderto obtain a fully equipped sustainable living unit, systems to obtain,transform and store energy have as well been closely integrated into the unit’sstructural system. ADEX is capable of adapting to any site where energy areresources are available, for a temporal or permanent basis. This adaptation canbe determined at different levels in a scale ranging from a parasitic system upto a symbiotic one. As a parasite (therefore far from ADEX’s optimal use) theliving unit can favor from the external feed of any given resource, whether is electricity,gas, water or data connections. These resources can be directly injected intothe unit’s structure. In this case, ADEX would only function in a sustainableway by processing and recycling its own wastes. The next step in the scalewould be a hybrid system where the site’s resources could be used to providethe basic services to its users while an external input would be auxiliary orused to provide extra comfort by means of active systems. The last and optimalstate of the ADEX unit is where (if the site’s resources prove to besufficient) it becomes auto-sufficient. The living unit is capable offunctioning exclusively from the resources provided by its location and maycontribute to the recycling of wastes and secondary products in order to ratherthan erode the site’s resources help contribute to their conservation. Solar energy isused by photovoltaic cells to provide electricity while solar collectors takecare of water heating. Our proposed ONION system fits the angled panels of the ADEX unit in order to use wind power for generating electricity while (giventhe appropriate angle) providing ventilation to internal spaces. Organic wastegenerated from food and gardens can be used for obtaining natural gas andnatural fertilizer. The Bio-Digester container can be located beneath the housefloor near the kitchen area with an opening to the exterior or in a separateunit next to a vegetable garden or orchard with a connection feeding the gasinto the rest of the house. If fed with enough biomass, the gas output issufficient for cooking in a conventional gas stove or even for water heating.This type of resource could perform better if installed in a community of ADEX living units. Water can be pumped from a near river, pond or lake for its futurefiltering and storage. Rainwater is as well collected for use in sanitaryinstallations or irrigation.


ADEX’s panelconstruction system benefits from its own geometry in order to deliverinstallation services through out the house to the specific points needed byits user(s). This living unit is meant to have all the commodities of any givenfacility with the benefits of a sustainable design. With the use of eachspecific panel needed, the ADEX unit can provide its inhabitants with cold andhot potable water, AGUA GRIS for sanitary purposes, residual water treatmentfor garden irrigation, gas combustion, irradiated heat from floor or walls,data ports (internet, fax, voice) on any panel, etc. The ADEX living unit willserve the program established by its inhabitants, ranging from single-familyunit to an urban settlement, from an ephemeral investigation unit to a disastercommune. Due to its modulated construction system, new services may beincorporated to the structure’s panels and edges permitting a maximumadaptation not only to a given site but also to human activities and needs. Theproject presented in the panels is an investigation unit located inside aUniversity campus, which provides temporal housing for 6 investigators orprofessors. This living unit is used to exemplify the ADEX construction andservice systems and is meant to function in a hybrid way due to the majoravailability of external resources (from the University) than the site’s own.ADEX is an open system that states the basis for a broad-range constructionsystem meant to be developed as it brings together human comfort at anylocation or circumstance with sustainable design.