Now, a house made of paper that offers cheap home for poor and displaced

January 18th, 2009 - 2:49 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Jan 18 (ANI): A scientist has created a house that is literally made from recycled cardboard and newspapers, thus effectively becoming the first “Wall paper” house, which could prove to be a cheap option for the poor and the displaced. According to a report in The Times, the inventor of the house is Gerd Niemoeller, a design engineer, who has given the name “the Universal World House” for his creation. It has been designed together with the German development aid agency GTZ, and with the architect Dirk Donath, from the Bauhaus University in Weimar. The 36sq m paper house weighs barely 800kg, and is light, can be easily assembled, environmentally friendly, earthquake-proof and, crucially in the age of recession, a bit of a bargain. “Without the foundation block, the whole house actually weighs in at about 400kg,” said Niemoeller. “It will not, however, simply blow away. The basic material is resin-soaked cellulose recovered from recycled cardboard and newspapers,” he added. Adding heat and pressure makes the paper extremely stable. The interior of the prefabricated building panels resemble honeycombs; an air vacuum fills each of the units. The result is a strong and stable exterior wall, well insulated. A similar construction technique is used in aircraft and high-speed yachts. “But, they are working with aluminium and other alloys, which is expensive, time consuming, energy intensive,” said Niemoeller. “That’’s not suitable for the Third World,” he added. The prime purpose is to create intelligent housing settlements almost instantly for the displaced and the urban poor. According to Niemoeller, “People don”t want to flee their countries; they”ve been driven to leave their homes out of the need to survive.” “The number of migrants, refugees living in improvised housing, is going to grow with climate change, and we offer an alternative,” he added. The house has eight built-in single and double beds and a veranda with a sealed-off area housing a shower and a lavatory. Apart from the sleeping area, there are shelves, a table and benches. The whole wall of the kitchen can be tipped open to let air in and to blur the distinction between inside and outside. First inquiries for the house have come from the Delta State oil developers in Nigeria, and from Angola. More than 2,000 houses have been ordered by another Nigerian company. Also, development aid agencies are considering whether the houses could be used to accommodate those fleeing from the cholera epidemic in Zimbabwe. (ANI)

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