Husly - a place to live

“What would a house look like, if we build it with euro pallets?”
You will find pallets all over Europe. And when we make the drawings available on the web, everyone who fancies it, can build a small place where they can live!

Is it possible today, to put oneself besides the forces of the market? Husly ( meaning; shelter), which is a practical and conceptual work of art, and a part of the Generator art project in Trondheim (Norway), questions this.

The confrontation with today’s estate-market made us want to go back to zero, and find our own standards.
Do the costs for living have to be so high? And the houses, without a soul?

Husly raises questions about how we relate ourselves to the market, what a house is, or can be, and about who sets the standards. At the same time questions are asked about ecology, politics, social issues, history and future.

Euro pallets and re-use, new and old building traditions
With this as a starting point we experimented with pallets as a building block for our upcoming shelter. These pallets can be found anywhere there’s trading, and are hauled in and out all cities, every day, all year long.

Pallets are often the only easy accessible wood to be found outside of Scandinavia and they are built after a worldwide standard. The idea was that the drawings of the Husly project could be used anywhere; we wanted that the project became kind of universal.

We had an idea about what the house would look like at the beginning, but working with the pallets led us in a different direction. A self sustaining construction came up, an arcade-like structure that almost didn’t need extra materials to become strong. This meant minimal use of resources and simplicity of construction.

For the rest of the structure we used resources that were available around us; materials from waste bins, containers at building sites, recycled materials from local plants. We wished to use materials that posed the least danger to the inhabitants or the environment.

We were forced to think differently with unorthodox building materials at hand, and chose to go back to old techniques. Waterproof formwork boards are used in several places; the floor, the arcades and laid as slates on the structure as a first protection against the elements.

Ecology and autonomy
We wished to find our own standard build on our personal needs and at the same time use eco building techniques. What does ecology mean, in a practical sense, in a city?

To liberate us from the movements of the market we connect ourselves to an independent unit consisting of solar panels. This unit could also consist of wind turbines and/or a supplementary bio diesel generator. This means a substantial cut in use of electricity.
Therefore we use another old tradition; a woodstove, for heat and cooking. For this we choose a highly effective modern clean burning stove. This came naturally since it is easy to find scrap wood as fuel in this town.

We didn’t want to connect us to the sewer system and are building a grey water filter and a urine-separating composting toilet together with professor Peter Jenssen at the UMB university  in Ås. This will give us chance using resources on the spot.

Healthy houses
There is a lot of knowledge on the building of healthy houses today. Our project will show some of these, also will we build as much as possible according the local code. We want a shelter built for the Nordic climate.
The site, a sunny non-defined area
The structure will be placed on a site called Vestre Kanalkai 19C. It is a rough spot currently not in use but very centrally placed in the town of Trondheim. Facing south on the main axis of the city it is a diamond in the rough,  actually regulated as a public park but nothing more than stones sand and harbour litter because of local politics.

Man has through times always had the basic need to construct his shelter, by means of taking that was needed in the environment and build after ability and need. We wished to touch this freedom, this right and inspire others with our project.

A place that invites to experimentation and change
Husly creates the basic frame that can be filled in and changed after the wishes or needs that one could have.
The possibility to develop new solutions and constructions is exciting and interesting. It opens up for a more laid back attitude towards the home; it is an evolving project.

From art to reality
During the Generator period, Husly will be at the canal in the city center. The artists will activate the house by living in it during the exhibition.  
The 23rd of September, Husly will be taken down and moved to the ”Urban Ecological neighbourhood” Svartlamon. This as a part of the exhibitiont and a step into the reality of the projects afterlife.
Husly will be lived in and tested through the nordic winter.

Husly is about mans basic needs, and to be at home in this world.

Vigdis Haugtrø og Jan de Gier
Trondheim, may 2007