Infiniski assembles aesthetically non-pleasing and inherently discarded elements to generate a truly sustainable and location-specific house.
Infinski, is an unusual name and doesn’t really connect with an architectural firm, but since this firm doesn’t believe in walking the straight and narrow anyway, I suppose the unusualness of the name makes sense.
“It is not because of climate change. It is because I’ve never been able to leave food on my plate!” is what the principal architect of the firm offers in the way of an explanation towards the choice of path this firm follows in order to create eco friendly houses – this is truly architecture with a beauty that slowly creeps up on you.
The firm’s own website defines its mantra as a ‘concept company within the architecture and construction industry that offers a distinctive approach and creates sustainable and affordable accommodations for a range of uses.’
Ask me and I would state that Infiniski is a firm that tries to think the values of architecture and construction differently and goes on to adequately contribute to the needs of an ever changing environment. Their projects don’t address sustainability as just one of the aspects of the overall plan but arrives at a particular design with the concept of sustainability as its very core.
The founders Loretxu Garcia, Juliette Frey, Jaime Gaztelu and Mauricio Galeano, with their offices in Madrid, Spain and Santiago, Chile, have developed the potential to radiate on all continents. Greener, cheaper, faster, cooler, better, flexible, modular and versatile are the key words that Infiniski thrives on.
A modular prefabricated construction process which respects the fundamentals of sustainability is the basic tool for any of their designs.
Infiniski has a strong belief that recycling, saving and reusing should not only be the result of a responsible and creative behavior but also a way of living. They consciously stay away from ecology as a fashionable concept and work towards offering a smarter approach to housing needs.
Located at Curacaví, Chile, the Manifesto House is one of their most recognised works. It reflects the company’s ethos and its potential through its bioclimatic design which is based on the use of recycled and repurposed materials, non-polluting construction systems and the integration of renewable energy. While James & Mau are the architects of the project, interior design and furniture is by Cómodo Studio.
Constructed incurring a total cost of 140,000€ and an execution time of a mere 6 months, the house truly reflects the company’s ideology.
The house of 160 sq. m. is divided in two levels and follows a very simple and straightforward plan. The project relies on a bioclimatic architectural design and a form that readily responds and adapts to the energy needs of the house at any given time.
The project was based on a prefabricated and modular design, which considerably brought down the time frame as well as the costs incurred. The modular system has the potential to facilitate any modifications or enlargements that may be required in the future to adapt to the evolving needs of the client.
Primarily, the construction of the house used three recycled maritime containers, as its basic structure. A container cut in two parts on the first level was used as the support for the containers on the second level.
A structure in the form of a bridge creates extra space in between the containers on the second level and is isolated with the help of thermo-glass panels. As a consequence with the use of just 90 sq. m. worth of container, the project generated a total of 160 sq. m. maximising on the building material used.
The bridge like structure responds to the bioclimatic needs of the house with the help of an in-built mechanism which regulates the form from time to time offering an effective natural ventilation system. As if it had a second skin, the house “dresses and undresses” itself, thanks to the ventilated external solar covers on the walls and roof; it changes chameleon-like depending on the need for natural solar heating.
The house uses two types of covers or you could say skins, the wooden panels obtained from sustainable forests form one side and recycled mobile pallets are clad on the other. The pallets open themselves in winter to allow as much of the sun as possible to heat the metal surface of the container walls and close themselves in summer to protect the house from excessive heat. Now that’s called truly climate responsive architecture! The very same skin also serves as an aesthetic external finish and helps the house to integrate better into its environment.
But with all this technical accuracy, the house does not give up on comfort and aesthetics. It takes full advantage of the natural surroundings, natural light and the magnificent landscape views.
Both the exteriors and interiors were constructed using up to 85% of recycled, reused and other eco-friendly materials. Recycled cellulose and cork, recycled aluminum, iron and wood and noble wood from sustainable forests, along with ecological painting and eco-labeled ceramics were all part of the construction. Owing to its bioclimatic design and the installation of alternative energy systems, the house achieves a level of 70% energy autonomy.
Infiniski demonstrates to the world the artful use of containers, train rails, bottles, recycled aluminum, iron and wood to generate a self sustaining architecture. It incorporates alternative and renewable energy depending on the needs and budgets of each project. Thereby with its non-conventional method of construction, Infiniski allows one to save money, time and energy, all at one go!
Text By Kruti Choksi
Photographs By Antonio Corcuera