076 - Ethical Box

Andrea Montelatici

Perugia, Italy



Eliana Baglioni

Perugia, Italy



Ethical box is an eco-friendly retreat in the Canadian woods.
The architectural form and the materials used comply and reinterpret the Acadian Architecture, the traditional architecture of the New Brunswick Region (see design table 1).


The Concept

The project revolves around the theme of sustainability, developed using natural, local, non-toxic, renewable and environmentally friendly materials.
Ethical Box goes further, addressing other issues such as mobility and adaptability.
The refuge in fact is transformable: from compact volumes becomes on two floors, becoming a comfortable accommodation.

The compact shape allows easy carrying, because it enters inside a container, moreover the foundations, made with steel screws, can be adjusted to different heights adapting to uneven ground and maintaining the building in plan position.
The name Ethical Box, understood as a search for what is good for man, he wants to summarize in one word the concepts mentioned above.


Volumetric and Functional Arrangement

The small building works as a refuge in any season of the year, and comfortably accommodates two or three people, using the bedroom and the living area.
Ethical Box is configured as a single volume on two levels; a ground floor used as a living room, with a relax area and a table, the stairway to the upper floor also functions as a storage wall. The mezzanine floor is the sleeping area (see design table 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

The shelter is designed to take advantage of solar gains. On the south side, there is a portico with a large glazed entrance, while to the north wall is almost totally opaque and has a single window. This position of the openings allows both natural ventilation and cooling in summer, and a solar gain and a passive heating in the winter.

Upstairs, in correspondence of the pediments there are openings that give additional light inside: a small window to the east side, in the bedroom, and a large window at the west side, that allows you to enjoy the surrounding landscape.


Building Technology

Ethical box is made with modular elements: a simple technology that allows to create different architectural forms using local materials available in different environmental contexts.
The modules can be assembled on site or pre-manufactured and easily transported, either as individual elements, which as a whole volume.

All modules present a local wood frame withstraw bales insulation, as the wall panel type A and B, the floor panel, the internal floor panels type A and B, and the roof panel (see design table 4 and 5).
The assembly of the modules is achieved with metal joints and plates.

The scale is anchored to an Xlam wall, while the pediment have wooden structure; both have a timber fiber insulation.

The outside coating consists of hemlock strips, placed alternately, while the pediments are in timber panel; the perimetric structure of the roof is painted to characterize the volume. The roof is covered with shingles, according to local tradition.

Inside, the local wood coating is present on both walls and floors.

The windows are double-glazed and made with spruce, to differentiate themselves from the rest of the volume.


Description of the transformation process

Ethical box is transformable, from compact becomes on two floors: its components must be open and easily put in place.
When it is closed it is easy to carry. Before to use it you need to perform a few simple steps:

  • The first step is to detach the portico structure.
  • Then, through a rotation system (pivot and hinge) the roof rotates of 45° and opens itself, part of the upper floor (A) is already in position.
  • The second step is to open the other part of the upper floor (B) and the two pediments that are contained in the roof.
  • Finally you open the portico and joins it to the building.

(You can see all the operations in the design tables 2, 3, 4, 6).


Thermal and electrical systems

The heating is provided by a wood stove present in the accommodation. The stove is placed in the central area of the living room to spread the heat better, the chimney goes outside through a channel arranged in the north wall module.  The electrical energy can be obtained from photovoltaic panels positioned in the south groundwater of the roof.

Thanks to the passive solar heat gains, the high insulation, and natural ventilation the Ethical box minimizes the emissions associated with its operating.

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

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