Six Hours Ago, This House Was in a Box

A flatpack A-frame that can withstand earthquakes

November 14, 2017 9:00 am

In the age of two-minute delivery, people are beginning to value the speed at which they receive products as much as the items themselves.

Architect Renato Vidal wants to bring that concept to your new cabin.

His modular-home unit M.A.DI. starts as a flat-packed design, not unlike the ubiquitous shipping container, but unfolds into an A-frame house in as little as 6 hours.

Designed in Italy, M.A.DI. stands for modulo abitativo dispiegabile or “deployable housing module.” It was created with three issues in mind: sustainability, convenience and seismic activity.

Yes, you read that right. Despite the flimsy appearance of a structure that folds along the roofline, these structures are built to withstand earthquakes.

MADI home (2 images)

More pertinent to the regular homeowner, M.A.DI. is built from cross-laminated timber, a steel frame, and polyurethane foam and rock wool for waterproofing and insulation. While the units are specifically defined in terms of size, customization is available from the glazing of the exterior walls to the incorporation of solar panels.

The standard M.A.DI. unit is two floors, 21.3 feet tall and about 290 square feet, with a full bathroom, kitchen, dining room and bedroom. But the most exciting aspect of the design is that there is no limit on how many you can link together. Their website suggests public facilities and tourist villages as appropriate uses, but with winter looming a private pop-up skiing lodge seems to be the ticket. 

One M.A.DI. costs around $32,660, but each additional module will only set you back about $18,660. Unfortunately, they’ll only be available in Italy when they go on sale in a couple months. But manufacturer Area Legno is looking to bring them to the U.S. soon.

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