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The Liv-Lib’ project consists of two elements: “hubs” and “habitation capsules.” The hubs are solar-powered urban infrastructure cores that contain technological and ecological systems necessary for the operation of the housing, such as energy production, ventilation, electrical equipment, waste management, graywater systems, and vertical circulation (stairs and lifts, as necessary). This multifunctional hub infrastructure would be public property, managed and financed by the city or developers.

Each hub has several “ports” capable of receiving a habitation capsule, which is private property. The housing units use translucent panels made of PMMA (polymethyl methacrylate) to capture solar energy and direct it to the solar cells located in mullioned windows. While this type of photovoltaic panel has lower insulation performance than traditional windows, it does enable the homes to take advantage of natural light while producing energy. The Liv-Lib’ dwellings are constructed of concrete, and the interior walls are covered with biofilm paint.

Related: Live Lib Plug-in Capsule Homes Offer Affordable and Energy-Efficient Urban Housing in Paris

The housing capsules can be different sizes, and they have flexible floor plans to provide greater freedom to organize the internal space and adapt to the needs of inhabitants. It’s also possible to link capsules to make larger dwellings. However, whatever the configuration, the system retains a common and central energy supply from photovoltaic panels. The housing units’ small size also translates to lower costs overall. Team Paris consists of 61 students and their their teachers from the Ecole nationale supérieure d’architecture Paris-Malaquais; the ESIEE Paris; the École spéciale des travaux publics, du bâtiment et de l’industrie (ESTP Paris); the Université Paris-Est Marne-la-Vallée (UPEM) and Chimie Paristech.

Lead photo by Solar Decathlon Europe, renders by Liv-Lib’