Cork or cardboard houses, more ecological and durable

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Green architecture is in fashion, and so are designs innovative, seeking a balance between comfort, relatively affordable prices and sustainable materials.

In this post we are going to focus on the cork and the carton two materials of construction with great possibilities in ecological architecture, in combination with wood, in addition to seeing two modular proposals.

Cork and cardboard, sustainable materials

The cork comes from the Cortex of the cork oak and its characteristics allude to its durability, fire resistance, elasticity, insulation and impermeability. Its use in construction takes advantage, above all, of its insulating capacity, as it is one of the best thermal insulators, in addition to doing it at an acoustic level.

Cardboard is another great material versatility, much stronger than it may seem for use in construction. Through the use of recycled paper or cardboard, very durable projects have been carried out, in addition to having a beautiful aesthetic, as the Japanese architect Shigeru Ban has shown or, without going any further, the project that we will see in the next section.

In general, the sustainability of materials depends on very different factors. In fact, it is not enough to say that we are using cork, wood or cardboard as the main raw material to convey the idea of sustainability. Not all those materials are, logically.

To be about Ecological materials must achieve a series of characteristics, such as not having undergone a treatment that distorts or spoils them in this regard, having the corresponding ecological certification and, for example, having a low carbon footprint, both in terms of production and time to transport it.

That is basic, but in reality we should take into account the different aspects of the life cycle of products, from the moment the raw material is obtained until it is made and runs through the distribution chain.

Only in this way could we assess the real environmental impact of the products. In this case, the construction materials of these houses, which have many ballots to obtain good marks in such exhaustive examinations. But let's see both proposals.

Ingenious cardboard house

The Wikklhouse, from the Dutch studio Fiction Factory, is a cardboard house that, as can be seen in the photos, does not look like it. Its durability, around 100 years, is also hard to believe. Maybe because we are not accustomed these building materials, and the mere fact of being atypical explains our strangeness.

Be that as it may, there is nothing like seeing the result that this project offers, a mini modular house entirely built with cardboard and wood. It is assembled with modules of 5 square meters and does not need a foundation. In other words, it is a portable home, provided that you are willing to move a load of 500 kilos with a trailer.

That is, obviously, we are not talking about a house-shaped tent, but a house designed for temporary use, but in the medium term. Both for installation in a natural environment, such as wild, or in your own garden or plot, where to install it as a main or complementary house, depending on the different needs.

Its price is prohibitive, because without counting transport and placement in a single day, the cost already reaches 25,000 euros. In addition, for now it is only for sale in Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the United Kingdom, Germany and Denmark.

The EcoCubo, a mobile cork house

The EcoCubo is an ecological refuge in terms of materials and also as a concept. Its creators, the Portuguese architects António Fernandes and Filipe Macedo de Brito, propose a micro house made with local ecological materials (cork oaks are very abundant in Portugal and Spain, including the Mediterranean area more extensively), taking into account in addition to the advantages that it has as an insulator.

Along with cork, they use wood, but the main material is that, seeking with the use of both to create a natural environment that does not establish a separation between being inside the house and outside. Likewise, cork is used as a lining so that the same passage of time is tanning the house, making it melt with nature, like something alive.

Inside, with a capacity for two people, it is possible to arrange the space in different ways, so customization is sought. Its creators affirm that each EcoCube is unique and, on the other hand, it is very flexible in terms of uses, location and distribution.


Finally, the EcoCubo is conceived as a key element for the promotion of ecotourism in places little conventional or accessible. In this sense, it opens up new possibilities for rural tourism by expanding the susceptible space of residence without the environment being severely damaged at the landscape level nor assuming a massification.

Well thought out, the cardboard house could also be used for this purpose. Beyond being houses, they are understood as a broader concept of sustainability, either to serve a lifestyle or as a business related to the ecotourism sector.

The buts, as always, there are them, although in this post we value our projects for their activist side, and in this aspect they are interesting. Lastly, the price hurts. Although the EcoCubo is much cheaper (about 10,000 euros) they are still expensive alternatives if it is taken into account that they are not conceived as a first residence.

If you want to read more articles similar to Cork or cardboard houses, more ecological and durable, we recommend that you enter our category of Crafts with recycled material.

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