The Modular Unit (MU50) is a small-scale, modular, off-grid structure, designed to be recyclable and adaptable to a wide variety of sites. Through its simplicity, flexibility, and choice of materials, this structure is intended to bring beauty to the users’ daily lives; to allow them to incorporate it in their quotidian landscape and to connect with the surrounding nature reducing at most its carbon footprint.

A single module consists of two untreated Larch timber frames and the enclosure between them. The structural frames and the enclosure define the shell of the project, while its interior core consists of a separately constructed service pod with amenities and storage space. The pod includes the bathroom and kitchen as well as the necessary storage space. Glazing on all sides of the building allows visual transparency and creates a sense of openness and continuity between the interior and the surrounding landscape. The exterior decks, protected at different times of the day by manually operated timber shades, offer a variety of micro-climatic outdoor experiences generated by the sun and wind conditions that change as one moves around the unit.

The structural Larch-wood frames and the enclosure panels were prefabricated and then easily mounted on site reducing the installation time. Details of the steep gable-roof cover were developed for three possible building materials – wood, aluminum and copper; the latest material was used to cover MU50. This is a multi-layered passive climatic control surface: while the thermal insulation and waterproofed panel finish above the laminated wood roof structure provides the function of a conventional system; copper surface mounted above the actual roof surface provide an efficient passive control and reduction of heat gain, by creating continuous air movement and shading above the unit. This roof also house the photovoltaic and solar panels, making them an integrated component of the design language.

The enclosure of MU50 is double glazing on all building sides, except for an enclosed structural bay on the south façade which contains all the mechanical and electrical equipment. This includes a ground source heat pump for the custom-designed underfloor heating and cooling system integrated into the timber frame. The glass enclosure helps establish a feeling of openness and connection to the surroundings. However, other materials could be chosen as the building skin, to match different spatial functions or climatic conditions.

The unit incorporates technologies that reduce its environmental impact. A simple, open plan allows natural lighting and facilitates cross ventilation. The transparent surfaces designed to receive maximum daylight into the interior spaces minimize the necessity for artificial lighting. The high pitched gable roof houses the photovoltaic panels to produce electricity and solar panels to heat water. Ground source heat pump and underfloor heating constitute an efficient system that makes use of minimal energy. The floor of the unit is raised above the ground, which allows air circulation below its surface. Building orientation, custom made double-pane glazing and piston-operated pine sunshades all protect the interior from direct sunlight.

The Modular Unit (MU50), has a simple open plan with a 50 sqm footprint with an additional 40 sqm of
exterior decks. The main enclosure is divided into a living and a sleeping area by a service pod. This pod
includes the bathroom and kitchen as well as the necessary storage space.



Design Principal: Onur Teke, Founder of Teke Architects Office
Design Team: Teke Architects Office
Structural Engineer: DEA Proje
Photos: Altkat Architectural Photography

MU50 by Onur Teke in Turkey won the WA Award Cycle 33. Please find below the WA Award poster for this project.

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