The Inter House Team believes in the importance of living in a natural and sustainable space in which international and local residents may celebrate the diverse cultures of their family and community in the comfort of their own home. We are committed to designing a home that merges tradition and modernism, inspires innovation in affordable middle-class housing, and supports Morocco’s growing interest in renewable energy. Our unique design, the Inter House, highlights intercultural architecture, interactive energy management systems, integrated control systems, and a unique interdependence on the environment.
Technical and Modern Approach
Our design is a functional, beautiful space that supports Morocco’s growing interest in renewable energy. We strive to inspire innovation in housing and merged traditional African architecture, building materials, and construction practices with modern, energy efficient technologies into one home design that is approachable and comfortable to our target resident.
Our target market includes young adults, from Morocco or abroad, looking for sustainable middle-class housing in the suburbs of a greater city such as Marrakech. The Inter House is also a flexible space that can adapt and transform with its homeowners, allowing for example a young couple to grow a family in the same space.
COMPRESSED STABILIZED EARTH BRICKS
Almost half of the world’s energy consumption comes from building construction, not including the energy needed to create the materials for construction. By using CSEBs as our primary structural material, composing the walls of the Inter House, we are localizing the direct energy deficit from our main construction material. While adobe and other earthen structures have existed across the world for thousands of years, CSEBs unique composition includes cement to increase the material’s scope and allowing it to build larger structures. The makeup of our CSEBs consists 95% of local soils and 5% of lime cement for stabilization so they may perform under applied loads. This sustainable solution embraces the beauty of traditional brick structures seen across Morocco while providing work for local communities and a sustainable, affordable, and energy efficient housing solution.
TRADITIONAL MOROCCAN ARCHITECTURE
By demonstrating how traditional and modern values can coexist in a home, the Inter House provides an open, sustainable space in which people may come together and celebrate their diverse cultures with their community in the comfort of their own home. It is structured around a courtyard, the heart of the Arab house and a space for welcoming and socializing, which divides the house into two main areas: a more intimate and private space oriented to the northwest, and a kitchen and living area to the southeast. The integration of these areas not only enlarges the feel of the house but connects residents with the outdoors. While respecting these values, we chose building materials based on their sustainability and cultural merit, including compressed stabilized earth bricks and native reeds.
ENVIRONMENTAL CONTROL SYSTEM
Designed for the specific environmental conditions and hot, semi-arid climate of Ben Guerir, Morocco, the Inter House heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system maximizes energy efficiency in several ways. First, our central conditioning energy recovery ventilator (CERV) uses a high-efficiency heat pump to exchange energy between incoming supply and outgoing exhaust air. Because of the high thermal mass and insulation provided by our CSEB walls, the CERV is able to keep the house filled with comfortable, conditioned, and fresh air. Additionally, the CERV monitors indoor air quality levels through built-in sensors, and its remote-control system allows homeowners to monitor and set desired CO2 and VOC levels, temperature, and humidity setpoints in their home. To ensure that comfort levels are sufficiently met year-round, we are coupling the CERV with a minisplit, and additional heat pump that will supply additional heating and cooling in the Inter House’s primary living space only when needed.
The CERV and minisplit are interfaced through our custom designed Home Automated Control System (HACS). This sensor network maximizes comfort and accurately measures the performance of our HVAC system, containing light, motion, electrical, air quality, and environmental sensors to provide an overall perspective of the house’s real-time efficiency. We also designed the HACS to have a user-interface where homeowners can monitor sensor readings and control lighting, motorized window shades, and the entertainment for maximized and personalized comfort.
One of the defining features of the Inter House is our constructed wetland, a custom-built black water filtration system. Black water flows through rocks, reeds, and other plants in the wetland where natural bacteria breaks down the toxins and pathogens in the black water, which are removed through the plants’ roots. This not only provides water and nutrients to the vegetation, but also filters the black water to an level of reuse for landscaping and green wall irrigation. During the Solar Decathlon Africa our wetland is simply a demonstration showing our ability to minimize water waste, however it can be expanded to a full-scale system after the competition in the future life of the Inter House.