Where people call home depends on varied factors, from poverty level to personal philosophy to vanity to community pressure. Ecocapsule appears to be the result of special factors, a team of architects applying their skills and imaginations to make investors and consumers re-think what can be a home.
To be sure, a newer wave of environment-minded "green" architects have been thinking beyond traditional concepts toward showcased structures as "living solutions."
Ecocapsule is the work of a group called Nice Architects, a studio based in Bratislava, Slovakia. They worked out a concept of housing which is designed as energy-efficient. Their Ecocapsule drew the attention of several sites this week. Adam Williams in Gizmag talked about the structure on Thursday: "The big draw with this micro-home is the impressive sustainable technology that it promises. Packing a 2.6 sq m (28 sq ft) solar array on the roof, and an integrated battery system, Ecocapsule also sports a silent 750 W wind turbine that's set on a retractable pole. The bathroom includes a composting toilet and a shower, and a rainwater collection and filtration system offers clean drinking water."
The interior according to the site pictures looks attractive and inviting. There is an entrance, living/working space, kitchenette, toilet and shower, and folding bed, all part of the deal. It is described as adequate enough for two people.
This is a portable house with an "immense off-grid life span," they said. Ecocapsule was designed as a living space that, in addition to a home, might even serve as an independent research station, tourist room unit, or emergency housing unit.
The Ecocapsule is powered by a built-in wind turbine complemented with an array of solar cells. They said that the body of an Ecocapsule is covered with high-efficiency solar cells and a retractable pole holds a 750W wind turbine attached to the body. "This creates an energy system that can support you for almost an entire year in many off-grid locations," they said.
They also said the dual power system and a high-capacity battery "ensures that you will have enough power during periods of reduced solar or wind activity."
Why the spherical shape? The architects chose the shape for collecting rainwater and dew. The built-in water filters allow people to use any water source. They did not yet put a price to this structure. They intend to start taking pre-orders and to announce the price later this year. They said they expect to deliver the first units in the first half of 2016. Ecocapsule, they added, can fit into any standard shipping container.
The team said the first public display of the Ecocapsule will take place at the Pioneers Festival in Vienna this month, which runs from May 28 to May 29. The Pioneers Festival is described as "Europe's major conference for tomorrow's ideas," where startups, investors and media meet.