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Home Maintenance? Not Here

Friday, December 5, 2014

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It took only two weeks and one tool to build a home that won't need maintenance for at least 50 years.

That’s right. The experimental home in Denmark was prefabricated offsite with a screwdriver.

Maintenance free home
Photos: Niels Nygaard, Arkitema Architects / Creative Commons

Plywood, steel and glass were used to construct this home in Fyn Island, Denmark, designed to be maintenance free.

The home is made primarily of plywood and encased in a glass “shield” to protect it from the elements, according to project’s designers Arkitema Architects.

The overall lifetime of the home is expected to be at least 150 years.

The Design

The 1,679-square-foot abode is fashioned after a traditional wooden Viking longhouse, with a simple, open layout: four bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and technical room, according to project details.

The home is comprised of 18 frames of bonded high-strength prefabricated plywood with a steel frame. The entire exterior is encased within a layer of toughened recycled glass sheets.


The 1,679-square-foot abode is fashioned after a traditional wooden Viking longhouse.

A small air gap exists between the glass cladding and the plywood, providing a natural chimney effect. Air is drawn in at the bottom of the home and vented out through a weatherproof opening atop the roof, according to the architect.

The air flow needs no mechanical assistance, and the gap is designed to protect the walls from condensation and decay. The structure is also raised a little over a foot off the ground to promote air flow around the exterior.

Under Observation

The “Maintenance-Free House” was developed in collaboration with Realdania BYG developers and the Danish Technological Institute. It is one of the six houses in a development on Denmark’s Fyn Island completed in 2013.

Reports indicate the homes are in the “observation phase” to see if the designs work reliably.

Details on the price have not been reported. But, from the sound of it, lucky homeowners could have their weekends free for decades. And that could be priceless.


Tagged categories: Architecture; Building envelope; Building science; Contracts; Glass; Indoor air quality; Research; Residential Construction; Wood

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (12/5/2014, 8:16 AM)

While I really like the concept, and most of the implementation looks good - I'm going to bet that the clearcoated exterior wood is more likely to need refinishing in 10 years than 150. It's very difficult to properly protect wood from the UV in sunlight for very long with a clearcoat.

Comment from john schultz, (12/5/2014, 9:27 AM)

Whats going to protect it from the occupants?

Comment from Gary Burke, (12/9/2014, 10:01 AM)

looks very nice!like to know how it was built with only a screwdriver, unless it is a "kit" of some kind!

Comment from Tom Schwerdt, (12/10/2014, 8:10 AM)

If only IKEA could figure out the single tool philosophy, instead of requiring 2 screwdrivers (not provided), 2 hex keys, one tack hammer (not provided) and a mallet(not provided) for assembling a simple dresser.

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