In January of 2020, a collaborative effort between UMass Amherst Building & Construction Technology, UMass Amherst Architecture, Five College Architectural Studies and East Branch Studio took root to design and build a net-zero energy micro-house. Teaming up with UMass faculty and East Branch Studio staff, eight students embarked on a journey to create an innovative, affordable home that could respond to the changing needs of its inhabitants over time. Postponed for two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a new group of eleven students have broken ground – so to speak – building the transportable home their peers designed.
This small, smart home – deemed the HyggeHaus – will make its grand debut at Signature Sound’s Green River Festival this summer as part of their Go Greener initiative, with the front porch serving as the stage for musical acts. After the festival, it will be delivered to OneHolyoke CDC to assist in their effort to provide affordable housing to the local community. OneHolyoke CDC became the first and only Community Development Corporation in the city of Holyoke in 2014. The role of the HyggeHaus will shift again from concept to teaching tool to stage to home.
The proposed design of the HyggeHaus is a modest and efficient studio-style dwelling unit. To enhance the unit’s potential impact and appeal, the students designed this studio to be a basic module that could, in theory, be expanded to a one- or two-bedroom dwelling unit in order to meet the future residents’ changing needs. Designed around relatively conventional wood stud framing and wood trusses with both cavity and outboard insulation, the HyggeHaus is net-zero and employs recycled and low-carbon materials throughout. It also features an innovative pre-fab construction system that will allow it to be repeatedly shipped, assembled, and disassembled rather than demolished. After partnering with OneHolyoke CDC, the design was expanded to include an additional bedroom unit that will attach onto the existing home and make the space even roomier. With green building methods in mind, options to panelize the construction of the additional unit using straw bale or hempcrete are currently being explored.