featured image of cardboard pod

Corrugated Cardboard Pod

  • Overview


    Newbern, AL
    5th Year Project

  • Awards & Media

    Archprix International Design Competition Honorable Mention
    Archiprix International | Delft, the Netherlands | 2001.08 | Rural Studio: Andrew Freear, Samuel Mockbee, Corrugated Construction Pod Thesis Team: Gabe Comestock, Andy Olds, Amy Holtz

    Tons (and Tons) of Cardboard
    Dwell | magazine | Karrie Jacobs | December 2001

    The Cardboard Pod, The Lucy House, The Antioch Baptist Church
    Bauwelt | Magazine | Michael Strand | February 20, 2004

  • Project Team

    Gabriel Comstock, Amy Jo Holtz, Andrew Olds

The intent of this project was to experiment with bales of waste wax-impregnated corrugated clippings for construction applications. Typically thousands of tons of this material are consigned to landfills each week: simply because the wax content prevents recycling. While utilizing the material’s structural capabilities, thermal mass, and insulation values, the students gained hands-on design-build experience. Simultaneously, they were investigating a way to improve the living conditions in rural Hale County, Alabama. 

An experiment with wax-impregnated corrugated cardboard

The material investigations mainly occurred through full-scale construction. A prototype house was built to test construction ideas and the possible uses of these 750-1250 lbs bales into which they were formed. This prototype was a student housing “pod” built underneath the Rural Studio’s Supershed. The pod incorporates corrugated bales in both the foundation system and in the walls. The walls are load-bearing and encouraged local farmers and contractors to test the material and the construction of barns and sheds. The thesis experimentation has taken place through many procedures.

Throughout the year, the thesis team conducted a series of materials investigations. One such study involved mixing loose clippings with other materials in order to see how they react. The purpose of this investigation was to devise a surfacing technique, or render, that would protect the bale. The pod still stands today in Newbern: the walls are in good shape and have been well protected by the big roof: ironically the only infestation is a wood worm problem in the heavy timber frames.
Corrugated cardboard bales used in foundation system and the walls
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