Would Styrofoam Housing Work?

August 25 2008 / by John Heylin / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: The Home   Year: General   Rating: 6 Hot

I recently came upon an interesting article about a village in Japan being built entirely out of Styrofoam. The walls of these buildings are pretty thick, but it only takes three people a few hours to assemble and a layer of mortar and paint ensure protection from the elements. Here’s a short clip of the actual assembly…

Having grown up in a Bucky Fuller dome structure, I immediately took a liking to this shape. Not only is the dome incredibly strong, but it also uses less material than the average home. But having also been raised by hippies, any mention of the word Styrofoam sends chills down my spine. I agree, it’s a great material for a dome structure in that it’s highly insulated against cold and hot temperatures and, like in the video, very easy to build. But there are myriad problems with such a building material.

For instance, the disposal of the houses would be an environmental catastrophe. Also, imagine the toll that 20 years of sun and rain would exert on such a light and highly corrosive structure. There’s a reason water is called the Universal Solvent – it can eat through just about anything given enough time. The idea of an entire village, much less a country, having all its Styrofoam houses replaced is staggering (maybe ship them to war-torn countries to be made into napalm?).

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