Back in the day when TreeHugger gave out its Best of Green awards, the Australian magazine Sanctuary was the big winner. I still think it is the best green shelter magazine available, and the fact that it is showing stuff we just don't usually see in North America is a double bonus. This month they have a special feature on Twelve of the best modular and prefab creations; The wonderful Archibox has been doing the rounds over here but some of the others are pretty interesting too.
The Ecoshelta building system is designed by Stephen Sainsbury architect, the system of corrugated aluminum panels on timber frames are "extendable, demountable, relocatable, robust and long lived."
The Ecoshelta system has been developed over the last three decades as an environmentally responsible alternative in response to the rapidly emergent new technologies making prefabricated modular building systems the way of the future, and the now. The system uses advanced design and the latest technologies to produce an environmentally minimal impact, rapidly deployable buildings for cabins houses and ecotourism ventures.
I might have disagreed with calling corrugated aluminum a sustainable material, but they address it in their FAQ, claiming that it has "a considerably lower overall environmental impact than any other available materials." However they make a good case for it:
We use marine grade structural aluminium alloy which is five times as strong as steel and half the weight, resulting in the use of only about a quarter the amount of material as it would take with steel and about a tenth as timber. The alloy we use is made from at least 15% recycled material. The mining and extraction process is heavily monitored in Australia and complete land rehabilitation is required. We prefer to use alloy smelted by low impact energy sources (Hydro or geothermal). We use low energy cutting and welding systems.
They are lined with EcoPly, " plywood made from certified plantation grown timber with low emission, glues and no harmful chemical additives or toxic preservatives." Different customized versions have been used for everything from little cabins to entire resorts. And given conditions in Australia, they are cyclone proof and bushfire rated.
Bushfire resistance options for various ratings are available and include Fire Rated glazed highlights and doors, Stainless Steel Screened Fire Shutters, fire Rated cladding, Fire rated Decking systems, Fire rated handrails and balustrading, automated and manual Fire Protection Sprinkler and Roof Irrigation systems.
More information at Ecoshelta.