Voxel Cabin grows food, reuses water, makes energy from waste

With the goal of building a cabin without relying on materials from the outside world, those at Valldaura Labs accessed their backyard forest and personal milling equipment (both traditional and CNC), as well as their knowledge of biogas energy and capture systems.

With just 40 white pine trees selectively harvested from the surrounding Collserola forest, students, researchers and a few experts at IAAC built their “Voxel” cabin during a period of quarantine in the mountains above Barcelona.

After selecting the trees to cut to improve the health of the forest, the team used chainsaws to fell them and cut them in situ. They were then sent to carpentry to be planed and finally compressed into cross-laminated timber (CLT) which served as both and interior cladding. Offcuts of wood were shaped using parametric design tools to provide exterior cladding that maximizes shading and cooling.

These offcuts were burnt using the traditional Japanese method of Shou Sugi Ban, or Yakisugi, to preserve and protect the wood. The home was built without the use of metal screws – in an effort to remain as local as possible-, and instead by using a classic doweling technique to press the boards together with these wooden nails.

A voxel is a “pixel with volume”; this applies to the building itself with its stacked interlocking boxes that begin with a garden that filters and purifies rainwater (with plants that remove contaminants via phytofiltration) to be used inside the home. The tessellated construction continues inside the home with a stepped ceiling and stepped furniture ladder that leads up to the lofted bed. Even the furniture is modular and changeable; wooden dowels allow one to interchange furniture pieces and build up and interchange tables, chairs, clothes racks, and shelving.

Advanced Ecological Buildings: https://iaac.net/educational-programmes/masters-programmes/master-in-advanced-ecological-buildings-maeb/

Voxel Cabin: https://valldaura.net/ecohouse-v02-prototype-the-voxel-a-quarantine-cabin/

On *: https://faircompanies.com/videos/voxel-cabin-grows-food-reuses-water-makes-energy-from-waste/


  1. Finishing touches thoughts: The table seems like it could be more stable, I would definitely shore it up a bit more underneath. I’d also have some type of hanging wall art made of varnished wood or something that you could take down & fit over it as a table top when it’s time to eat, because germs. Maybe a couple of those floor sofa/chair cushions on the window corner side for lounging the rest of the time & they can be quickly stashed underneath for meals. Would also double as a second sleeping place that way! Other than that I would just need curtains for the toilet & shower, lol! I would probably utilize all those wall pegs to hang tapestries to make it a bit cozier. It’s so perfect I’ve already got it all decorated & furnished in my head & I’m ready to move in lol!

  2. I love the roof garden rain filter & the methane recovery system. These are things we can incorporate into the future.

    However, I don’t know about spending 2 weeks self-isolating without food storage & a way to prepare it.

  3. That building has plenty of places to start burning from catching flying embers. That’s a hard NO in design when you are claiming climate change is real and there are more and more forest fires.

  4. There is another vid that seems so similar. Which one was UT. Perhaps the videography was reminiscent. Nice shot.

  5. So many clever ideas. Iwas using the screengrab throughout and taking notes. Just one question left unanswered – what was that dark basket-like panel on the wall? A drying rack for mushrooms or similar when folded down?

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