Gallery: Efficient & Affordable Wood House Made From Shipping Pallets!

The pallets serve as the walls, ceiling, floors as well as a sunscreen.
The pallets serve as the walls, ceiling, floors as well as a sunscreen.

Back in 2008, Andreas Claus Schnetzer and Gregor Pils, entered their Paletten Haus into the GAUDI competition, which was seeking designs for minimal houses of leisure for the XXI century. Their pallet house design stole the show and has since gone on to be displayed in many locations around Europe, including Grenoble, Venice, Vienna, Linz and Brussels. Since then, they have also won the 2009 Piranesi Student Honorable Mention.

Homes have been made from pallets before, mostly because pallets are really quite useful materials. They are durable, easily reused and recycled, and they come in standard sizes around the world, making it easy to gain access to the materials no matter where you are. Two layers of pallets serve as the home’s walls, ceiling, and as a sunscreen to shade the structure and allow for ventilation. Then structural support, insulation, conduits and plumbing are sandwiched between the two layers of pallets.

Insulation for the house depends on what is available, but could include recycled cellulose, blown spray foam, or even straw. Windows are installed on the sides, and the two ends have glass fronts with a sliding glass door. Even interior rooms are divided with pallet walls. The home is designed to have a low heating and cooling demand, and rainwater is collected from the roof to flush the toilets. To build a 60 sq meter (655 sq ft) house, 800 pallets are used at roughly a cost of €8 per pallet, so an upscale version including materials and labor, cost €80,000 (about $164/sq foot). Remember, that’s the upscale version.

Now, Schnetzer and Pils are in Johannesburg, South Africa working on the first low-cost unit as part of a social building project. They are teaching local people how to construct the home utilizing local materials, including straw, which will be used for insulation. They expect to build an 80 sq meter home for about $10,000 in 10 days, which works out to $11/ sq foot. Affordable, efficient, and easily replicated worldwide, we can’t wait to see what’s next for the Paletten Haus.

+ Paletten Haus



or your inhabitat account below


  1. NOWILAYME January 9, 2014 at 5:52 pm


  2. aarvee April 4, 2012 at 1:55 am

    superbs ,,its an owesome reuse ,,i love this,,,

  3. Ricanada May 15, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Warning: While this sounds good on the surface…better to look a little deeper at all the environmental and human health issues associated with wooden pallets first! These include, among others, potentially high levels of carcinogenic formaldehyde and/or wood dust, paint, impregnated bacteria, exotic insect species (or, if not, methyl bromide used for fumigation), rusty nails or staples, emissions associated with transportation, to say nothing of the likely unsustainable forestry practices used in harvesting the wood….

  4. London's Jellyfish Thea... August 26, 2010 at 2:45 pm

    […] 800 shipping pallets and 750 sq meters of plywood and other material were donated to construct the theatre. Old-school […]

  5. Wind-Powered Winner of ... July 29, 2010 at 7:45 pm

    […] which is meant to reconnect them with the natural environment. Finally, the leaves also act as a shade screen for the interior, protecting the building from the sun and encouraging natural ventilation and […]

  6. Be Palettø: A Pavilion... July 9, 2010 at 1:01 am

    […] School of Architecture in Denmark. The students used a limited palette of materials — well, only shipping pallets actually — and stacked them into a curvy strip to create a temporary pavilion. The […]

  7. enfested June 25, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I love the houses too, but I wish we’d outlaw wood pallets already.

    They’re a blight to our communities, and a conduit for many destructive items.
    Wood pallets are responsible for the Asian Longhorned Beetle in NYC:

    And fires across our country:

    I don’t have the answer for their replacement, but man, I can’t take these wood pallets anymore.

  8. Komu May 3, 2010 at 3:03 am

    I love this.

get the free Inhabitat newsletter

Submit this form
popular today
all time
most commented
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
more popular stories >
Federated Media Publishing - Home