Canühome Unveiled at Green Living Show

After World War II, Edward Larabee Barnes, Henry Dreyfuss and Bucky Fuller all tried to use aircraft technology and ideas to build housing but it never took off, so to speak. Perhaps their mistake was modelling it after the wrong planes, going with metal, instead of looking at the Mosquito and building it out of plywood.

I am not certain if that is where the inspiration for the canühome came from, but the designers have used the latest CNC technology and a lot of other ideas that make it one of the more interesting test beds we have seen. It is almost entirely built out of laminated plywood, bolted together in a couple of days as a demonstration project by CMHC (Canada Mortgage and Housing) and George Brown College's Institute Without Boundaries. We first saw it as the ecohome last year, proposed as a standalone or as a rooftop addition.

It is envisioned as being placed in all kinds of environments.

The shape of the canuhome derives from the thermal properties- air flows nicely around curved surfaces (Bucky Fuller used to say that the reduction in drag and the smooth airflow significantly reduced heating costs) and it has a double wall system that moved heat around passively by convection, between the two skins. In summer the hot air from the south wall is exhausted at the top; in winter it is circulated round the other side and into the space below the floor. Luigi Ferrara of the Institute without boundaries explains that even the waste heat from the appliances is channelled into the plenum and recycled under the floor.

Without a computerized router it is difficult and expensive to build complex geometries and curves, but now one can engineer every part, cut'em out and assemble them quickly on site; now the house can be engineered as efficiently as the airplane.

In his 1935 book "Aircraft", Le Corbusier wrote "Eiffel Tower? Or giant bridges? The framework of an airplane, - search for economy of material, always the fundamental, the essential law of nature." I was struck by the airplane-like character, the lightness of this concept, and while this is just a display prototype and not the real thing, think that it is a breakthrough in using sustainable materials as efficiently as possible.

even the tables, chairs and millwork are dowelled together out of FSC certified plywood.

There are a couple of unfortunate choices that have been made to placate sponsors rather than demonstrate sustainability, and I would not have put a double oven in the kitchen;

But other than that it was an inspiring demonstration of the power of existing technologies to change the way we build.

and I look forward to seeing communities of the real thing.


::Canuhome at the ::Green Living Show