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ADEX Offers Solar on Nomadic Structures

Credits: ©2010 BeHance

ADEX is a proposed prefabricated module-based living unit. The construction and energy-resource systems contemplate ADEX’s adaptation to any given site in which its structure might be supported. This living unit absorbs and recycles the resources or wastes available, whether in its manufacturing process or during its inhabitation use. The construction system is meant to be structurally reversible, meaning that the unit can be located and relocated anyplace also allowing it to adapt to an evolving program, where an expansion or reduction of spaces might be needed. ADEX does not present an immediate or ultimate response to ‘sustainable living’; ADEX is meant to evolve, it’s a green architecture and green building system that invents and renovates in order to present new solutions for achieving its adaptation to any conceivable location and human need.


adex modular housing system2

The ADEX system, designed by Alberto Lara and Paula Noguron, is comprised of small triangular units that can be easily combined and disassembled, enabling owners to pack-up the entire house to move. The building modules contain active and passive systems to take advantage of renewable resources such as photovoltaic panels, solar heaters, rainwater storage, and graywater recycling. ©2010 Alberto Lara


The only requirements that the site must present in order to be a viable location for ADEX are to have a support capacity for the structure (whether is horizontal, vertical or point-based) and to have the sufficient energy-resources required for the function of the desired services. The location of the ADEX living-unit will be determinant on the level of utilization of resources and energy sources in a SUSTAINABLE way. This ‘site-determination’ ranges from the optional use of external resources (i.e. water, gas, electricity, etc.) up to the point where the unit is SELF-SUFFICIENT.

Just as any toy construction pieces (i.e. Lego, Mecano, etc.) ADEX uses a simple piece assembly system to provide a quick and effective response to establish a living unit based on a given site. Taking further this analogy, ADEX may follow a ‘model guide’ that aids its construction given certain variables and characteristics of a site and context. The pieces are inter-exchangeable between any given models and can be removed or repositioned anytime (just taking the precaution to pause the respective services that they provide). Certain construction pieces as well as the services they might provide will prove to be more convenient in a determinate place given its variables or circumstances. ADEX’s ‘construction system’ is designed in a way its capable to suffice further needs or integrate future inventions and technologies that would increase its ‘sustainable’ nature and the further adaptation of the human living to any given environment or circumstances it might face.


The triangle-based construction system was chosen in order to allow a broad range FORMAL-FUNCTIONAL response in defining this customizable living unit. ADEX takes advantage of the surfaces, edges and nodes inherent of the structure in order to use them for the distribution of services through out the living unit delivering them to the specific points where they’ll be used. With this principle, the pieces and modules used to seam-construct the unit, go beyond the mere structural or sheltering function in order to conceive a service-fused construction.

The basis of the construction geometry comes from the combination of the three measures that compose a triangle-rectangle (sides 3-4-5). The final set of figures is made up of 3 equilateral triangles, 6 isosceles triangles and the original triangle rectangle. These figures are then proportionally scaled to determine the final size of the construction panels for the ADEX living unit. The final panels’ side measures are 0.75m, 1.00m, and 1.25m, which prove to be structurally viable as well as manageable during the assembly and dismounting process. In order to provide an adequate an effective structure system, the panels combine an assorted set of auxiliary connectors that make possible the structural and functional use of the installation built-in panels. Among these auxiliary items there are length-adjustable posts, flexible layered or weaved meshes, surface panel connectors (for multi-layered surfaces), and two kinds of node-linkage for connecting installations contained in surface panels or at their intersected edges.


The sustainable nature of any given construction doesn’t deal exclusively with the operational processes that it undertakes while it is inhabited. This nature might as well be applied to the construction process required to achieve the living unit. We believe that recycling is not a question of technology or its availability but also of creativity and ingenious contributions that lead to new ways of reusing waste material and other unused or discarded materials. SUSTAINABILITY addresses the task utilizing resources in a way that their availability to future generations is not jeopardized. Even though sustainability involves the use of passive systems it must be considered (far from passive or inactive) a set of multiple inter-ACTIONS. Preventing the environment and resources from wasting away must deal with development, technology, information, energy, recycling, and creating.

We propose the creation of a construction system based on recycled waste material ranging from agricultural to industrial output. The prefabricated modules and pieces of recycled materials are designed to be an ‘open-flexible system’ where recycled material pieces conform a set of systems which feed form their environment in order to provide services (in a sustainable way) to the ADEX inhabitants and continue recycling other materials as they function. Numerous recycled materials have been developed from organic fibers (Environ, FlexForm, NCFR Homasote, LifeCycle) as well as from several plastics (Stockbord, EcoPanel, Plaswood, Syndecrete). These recycled materials can be industrialized for the creation of standardized prefabricated pieces for the ADEX construction system.

ENERGY & RESOURCES (from parasitism to symbiosis)

ADEX is a construction system that integrates the distribution, process, and recycle of resources into its structure as a result construction pieces aren’t defined exclusively in terms of form, manufacture, or structural capability. In order to obtain a fully equipped sustainable living unit, systems to obtain, transform and store energy have as well been closely integrated into the unit’s structural system. ADEX is capable of adapting to any site where energy are resources are available, for a temporal or permanent basis. This adaptation can be determined at different levels in a scale ranging from a parasitic system up to a symbiotic one. As a parasite (therefore far from ADEX’s optimal use) the living unit can favor from the external feed of any given resource, whether is electricity, gas, water or data connections. These resources can be directly injected into the unit’s structure. In this case, ADEX would only function in a sustainable way by processing and recycling its own wastes. The next step in the scale would be a hybrid system where the site’s resources could be used to provide the basic services to its users while an external input would be auxiliary or used to provide extra comfort by means of active systems. The last and optimal state of the ADEX unit is where (if the site’s resources prove to be sufficient) it becomes auto-sufficient. The living unit is capable of functioning exclusively from the resources provided by its location and may contribute to the recycling of wastes and secondary products in order to rather than erode the site’s resources help contribute to their conservation.

Solar energy is used by photovoltaic cells to provide electricity while solar collectors take care of water heating. Our proposed ONION system fits the angled panels of the ADEX unit in order to use wind power for generating electricity while (given the appropriate angle) providing ventilation to internal spaces. Organic waste generated from food and gardens can be used for obtaining natural gas and natural fertilizer. The Bio-Digester container can be located beneath the house floor near the kitchen area with an opening to the exterior or in a separate unit next to a vegetable garden or orchard with a connection feeding the gas into the rest of the house. If fed with enough biomass, the gas output is sufficient for cooking in a conventional gas stove or even for water heating. This type of resource could perform better if installed in a community of ADEX living units. Water can be pumped from a near river, pond or lake for its future filtering and storage. Rainwater is as well collected for use in sanitary installations or irrigation.


ADEX’s panel construction system benefits from its own geometry in order to deliver installation services through out the house to the specific points needed by its user(s). This living unit is meant to have all the commodities of any given facility with the benefits of a sustainable design. With the use of each specific panel needed, the ADEX unit can provide its inhabitants with cold and hot potable water, AGUA GRIS for sanitary purposes, residual water treatment for garden irrigation, gas combustion, irradiated heat from floor or walls, data ports (internet, fax, voice) on any panel, etc. The ADEX living unit will serve the program established by its inhabitants, ranging from single-family unit to an urban settlement, from an ephemeral investigation unit to a disaster commune. Due to its modulated construction system, new services may be incorporated to the structure’s panels and edges permitting a maximum adaptation not only to a given site but also to human activities and needs. The project presented in the panels is an investigation unit located inside a University campus, which provides temporal housing for 6 investigators or professors. This living unit is used to exemplify the ADEX construction and service systems and is meant to function in a hybrid way due to the major availability of external resources (from the University) than the site’s own. ADEX is an open system that states the basis for a broad-range construction system meant to be developed as it brings together human comfort at any location or circumstance with sustainable design.