Flexible, expandable, and customizable: these characteristics have earned Sue Harper Architects the 2013 Australian Houses Award in sustainability for the Mihaus Studio. Mihaus is a prefabricated structure that can be customized to accommodate a wide variety of programs. Both home owner and designer, Harper sees the uses ranging anywhere from studio to eco-cabin and backyard cinema, or even just a bit of extra space added on to an existing home.
As many great ideas have, Mihaus Studio came from personal necessity. Harper needed a highly adaptable addition to her own home. She used her design expertise to create this modular…we’ll just say studio…that can transform over time to fit the users’ changing needs; it can even be disassembled for transport to a new location.
Aside from the inherent benefits that result from the building off-site, Mihaus uses environmentally sustainable building materials. Hemp, which has been gaining recognition as a sustainable building material, is implemented as panels to replace the industry standard OSB/plywood. Harper chose to use hemp because it is a fast-growing crop that stores carbon that acts as an extremely efficient insulator. It is also a strong, yet flexible material. Harper has also employed the use of natural ventilation, efficient glazing, and a standard grid to minimize material waste.
It is always refreshing to see architects bringing sustainable design to a greater audience. As the 2013 Houses Awards jury states, “Mihaus consolidates and redefines cost-efficient modular construction at a level that is accessible to the public.”
Photos by Michael Nicholson