107 - Natural Habitat

Artem Zanegin, Vitaliy Vaschenko, Anna Badera, & Oleg Marchenko (Essence Architects)

Odessa, Ukraine



The “Natural Habitat” is a contemporary small sized accommodation designed with respect to environment.

The “Natural Habitat” design is based on the experience of traditional Ukrainian accommodation building. It’s known by using only natural materials which is nowadays even more important than in the past. With the contemporary approach such construction can become the advantageous solution of compact sized and efficient accommodations all around the world.

The main purpose of “Natural Habitat” is to lessen the use of ecologically offensive materials and to fit the construction perfectly in any environment. The main two materials used in this construction are straw and clay, which are one of the most eco- friendly materials with the lowest levels of greenhouse gas emissions.

Clay and straw are very efficient materials in the cold regions, so as in New Brunswick the average minimum temperature is -14. Characteristics of these materials together with a free standing wood stove give a solution for heating in the winter. Ventilation and air circulation space is provided in the roof and in the floor, by small openings (max. 1cm width).

Construction of the building and its basement is very simple. In the first type for basement are used wooden farms built on small plates of concrete. In the second type, the basement acts as landscaping stones that fit perfectly into the local environment and give the building a greater naturalness.

As an additional materials were used:

  • Wood for a light carcass(in type 2 construction) and for straw bales blocks (type 1 construction); roof studs; interior furnishings;
  • Glass for windows and door;
  • OSB for floor and roof;
  • Cedar shingle cladding roofing felt;
  • Landscape rocks (in type 2 construction).
  • Freestand wood stove
  • Sand and water for clay mud

All the materials are easily accessible mostly in any part of the world.

The interior is made with simplicity and functionality of small sized accommodations. It accommodates two sleeping places, a table and a place to sit. Windows are made on each side of the construction so 360° view is available for guests.  The small size of the windows is made for the purpose of decreasing heatloss during the winter period. For additional ventilation in the summer season windows can open. The project includes the adjustable photovoltaic panel for providing electricity needs.

The “Natural Habitat” is a project proposition based on a traditional accommodation with a contemporary view on it, in accordance with modern requirements and challenges. With all its advantages it can become a smart solution for a smart building.

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