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Micro Housing Ideas Competition

Denver, USA



Description of the units:

We designed two types of units:

  • The unit for a single resident: The unit is designed with flexible planning with the possibility either to merge the living and relaxing zones or to separate them depending on the requirements of the resident. 

  • The unit for a young family: Regarding to increasing the privacy the living zone is separated from the bedroom by adding the bathroom between them.

Both units have built-in kitchens and dining spaces combined with the living area and also an access to the green buffering zone located on each floor of the building.

Description of the whole building:

The location of each unit is chosen according to the solar insolation providing natural lighting for each flat.

In order to provide the access for disabled people the project offers the use of an elevator located in the core of the house.  

The covered parking space for 2 smart cars and 6 bikes is provided on the ground floor of the building.

The required access to the river for Denver’s citizens is placed along the south façade and for residents – along the north façade.


Considering the presence of water close to the building the support of the building is made by concrete piles.

Green building and sustainable strategies:

1. Renewable energy.

Solar energy use

Approximately the average user consumes 1,5 kWh per day, so calculating the energy consumption of the whole building we have 1,5 x (4x1 + 4x2 + 3additional) = 22,5 kWh per day. Choosing the model of the PV-panel (GWL/Power Solar panel EUFREE Poly 290Wp 72 cells Schutten (MPPT 35V)) we can obtain at list 813 Wh per day from the each panel (considering the productivity of the panels at least 30% of the pick power, the shortest day of the year in Denver is 9 h 21 min in December, 21st. So we have: 280x9,35x0,3 = 813 Wh per day. Diving the energy need per solar energy production we can obtain the number of solar panels. 22500/813=28 panels that will be situated on the roof as well as on the canopies above the windows.


2. Choice of materials.

Wooden walls and roofs:

  • Light weight of wooden walls (average dry bulk density of wood is 500 kg/m3, while the bulk density of sand-lime brick is more than three times higher - 1,700 kg/m3) excludes the need of construction of heavy, deep foundation;

  • Wood is eco-friendly, all-natural material that does not emit harmful toxic substances when heated;

  • Outstanding sound insulation properties;

  • High strength and low thermal conductivity make wooden houses resistible to both high and low temperatures, wood doesn’t need to consume a lot of heat, that’s why it’s warm in winter and cool – in summer;

  • The house is protected from the wind, rain and snow;

  • The advantages of wood are considerably enhanced by the use of wood-processing facilities: preservative and chemical conservation, thermo-, impregnated, fire-retardant treatment, application of modern means of protecting and toning as varnishes (the lifetime of 7 years) and the coating (with a lifetime of 15 years);

  • Low carbon footprint - it takes less energy to produce than any other building material;

  • Wood is not only harmless to humans, but also completely renewable in the nature material.

3. Green buffering zones

Located on each floor of the building the green buffering zones have the constant access for all the residents of the house. Partially they will be the place for locating the solar panels and also there is enough space for small kitchen gardens useful for domestic needs.

4. Protection from direct sun rays.

The project offers the system of shaders located above each window or terrace protecting from direct sun light in summer but letting them in during the winter. According to the meteorological data Denver has 74 of sun rays inclination in June, 21th and 27  - in December, 21th. Also the canopies are used as the location of PV-panels. 

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