The primary aim of the project was to explore the feasibility of creating a comfortable and attractive summer home, while minimizing both cost and environmental impact through maximum use of recycled materials. Building placement needed to respect the on-site mastic (chia) trees, so that none were felled.
The 120 m2 building built with 400 shipping pallets was conceived as two interlocking C-shaped volumes: one open-air, the other enclosed. This required the use of two different pallet types: those with gaps between their slats and those without.
The open space, a shaded sun-deck, uses mainly gapped pallets. The enclosed volume, constructed primarily of the second pallet type, houses the kitchen, bathroom, walk-in closet, and an open-plan living space. The walls and ceiling of the enclosed volume sandwich a layer of insulation and waterproofing between two layers of pallets. The inner and outer pallet layers are uninsulated, allowing the air spaces to facilitate natural cooling.
While the pallet serves as both the fundamental structural element and cladding of the building, it is also employed to create steps, wiring and plumbing cavities, and sunshades. Pallet slats are used in creating doors, window shades, kitchen cabinets, storage niches, finish carpentry and trim. The entire structure is floated on a “foundation” of 20 concrete-filled, recycled 50-gallon oil drums.