I’m a huge lover of Mediterranean design, the cool, breezy and summery nature of it always draws me in. The Southern European vibe is contagious more so because of my love for the region and its aesthetic. With this in mind, coming across this design, I had mixed feelings, but ultimately, i had to succumb to its ingenuity and contemporary take on traditional Mediterranean housing, from a prefabricated stand point.
The 2 bed, scalable prefab home is called “UNBOXED” a befitting title for what appears to be a “gift-box-template” styled layout. Designed by Micaela Colella and Maurizio Barberio, of Barberio Colella ARC, “Unboxed” uses predominantly wood as opposed to the Masonry that characterises its predecessor. The ‘H-Shaped’ layout offers a clear division between the living or public spaces and more private sleeping areas. This division is in form of a glazed entry corridor smack dab in the middle of the aforementioned activity areas, connecting them one to another and providing a delightful vista of the surrounding nature for the residents. This is reminiscent of the breezeways found in the traditional villas.
Yet another feature that gives credence to the heritage of Mediterranean design, are the wall treatments enveloping high activity areas like the living room and master bedroom. Sliding Doors are sandwiched by what appear to be perforated side walls that will allow unobstructed airflow through the space for a most refreshing experience. I do worry about our critters, creepies and crawlies having free reign to waltz in and out of our beloved spaces, even though, the renderings depicts, full height blinds that can cover these geometrically abstract perforations, but then again you can always close your sliding door. Whatever, the case, these forms add a certain character to the design combined with their slanted shape lending a dynamic look to something that has long been more subtle.
The designers ensured high standardisation of the modules for the best possible prefabrication which in turn would allow for easy variation on the standard form creating a vast amount of possibilities and iterations to suite varying needs. All of this was made possible by dividing the building into several basic structural elements designed to be mounted with all finishes and without thermal bridges.
This make the building 100% recyclable as well as movable or removable. How? First we have the the Foundation which takes an innovative approach using steel to reduce to the brink of elimination the need for excavation on a given site. Secondly, we have a low pitched roof (about 5%) that permits the installation of Tegosolar solar tiles that would aid in the generation of electricity and heat. Thirdly, the aforementioned wooden frame, that would offer a lightweight structure and aid in its mobility.
In all, ‘UNBOXED’ is quite elegant and as shown, supremely scalable to cater to varying sizes of families and requirements. A truly contemporary take on a Mediterranean classic.