Corrugated Cardboard Pod

The intent of this project was to experiment with bales of waste wax-impregnated corrugated clippings in construction applications. Typically thousands of tons of this material are consigned to landfills each week: simply because the wax content prevents recycling. While utilizing the material's structural capabilities, thermal mass, and insulation values, the students gained hands-on design-build experience. Simultaneously, they were investigating a way to improve the living conditions in rural Hale County, Alabama. 

The material investigations mainly occurred through full-scale construction. A prototype house was built to test construction ideas and the possible uses of these 750-1250 lbs bales into which they were formed. This prototype was a student housing "pod" built underneath the Rural Studio's Supershed. The pod incorporates corrugated bales in both the foundation system and in the walls. The walls are load-bearing and encouraged local farmers and contractors to test the material and the construction of barns and sheds. 

Throughout the year, the 5th Year student team conducted a series of materials investigations. One such study involved mixing loose clippings with other materials in order to see how they react. The purpose of this investigation was to devise a surfacing technique, or render, that would protect the bale. The pod still stands today in Newbern: the walls of corrugated card are in good shape and have been well protected by the big roof: ironically the only infestation is a wood worm problem in the heavy timber frames. 

Images and Plans