VATRA Prototype

The prototype

Although renders and simulations are great during the idea generation process, the only surefire way to test those ideas in the real world is to create a prototype that can be physically manipulated by a human.

To determine the viability of our solution, we built, tested and optimised a site-independent prototype (HDU) - EFdeN VATRA Prototype. The objective is to incorporate all of our main ideas in one prototype and to research and test the relationships between the spaces we imagine. EFdeN VATRA HDU consists of one living unit module, one greenhouse, a space emulating the common room presented above and one technical room. For the roofing, the facade system and the constructive solution for the HDU, the same systems (as the ones implemented in the renovation and addition of storey) are used.


We aim to build using natural and renewable materials that can be safely returned back to nature after their life cycle with a minimal ecological footprint. Wall panels filled with straw insulation are great for creating an affordable and sustainable housing model, thanks to its energy efficiency, undoubted qualities of wood and waste reuse merits of straw.


Wall structure: panel types include braced panels, lintels, sills, and inclined gable wall elements. They can meet different structural demands by placing panels closer together or by using plywood reinforced column elements. The double wooden frame of the panels ensures the structural capacity for up to 6 storeys and easily supports ceilings, roofs or facades. The system is designed to be load bearing without creating any thermal bridges.

Solar system

The integration of the photovoltaic system into the architectural design is representative to the building approach we want to promote: a solution that strikes a balance between cost, energy efficiency and aesthetics. The roof shape has the role of providing the best angle and height for the bifacial photovoltaic panels (LG Mono), which produce energy with both sides. The surplus is accumulated in second-life batteries from electric cars.

Living Building Challenge (LBC)

We design and build a home according to the highest certification standard for sustainable homes in the world. LBC does not propose buildings with as little negative impact as possible, but buildings with as much positive impact as possible on the environment. This encompasses all 7 petals of the LBC flower and creates an interdependent relationship between design, construction, community and nature.

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