Plug Inn: the design phase

May 13, 2015

The Plug Inn project has during the spring 2015 gone through one of its most intensive phases, the design phase. There are now many parallel developments in the project, and because of the iterative nature of our work process, there are still parts of the design process that will be conducted later in the project. In this post we will discuss three of the most central aspects of the design phase: design of the building itself, floor plan / apartment configuration and implementation at the proposed Plug Inn sites.


Design of the building


As for the material used in the building, we are focusing on materials with a low CO2 footprint. Generally this excludes materials containing toxic components, materials based on petroleum and materials that use a lot of energy in the production process. We also try to keep the number of different construction materials at a minimum. This is part of the “design for disassembly” concept, meaning that the building is designed to be easy to disassemble.


The most important renewable raw material for the Plug Inn system will be wood. More specifically, we will work with glulam (glued laminated timber), a highly flexible material that is locally available in Sweden, which makes it consistent with our aim to use sustainable solutions.


Wooden buildings can be constructed in a number of ways, for this project we have identified a pillar beam system with glulam as the most rational solution. With the pillar beam system, it is possible to work without extensive groundwork on the building site, a goal in itself for the project. The facade elements are made of parts that are easy to assemble and disassemble.


The Plug Inn building design is a module concept featuring a pillar beam system with glulam.

The Plug Inn building design is a module concept featuring a pillar beam system with glulam.


Floor plans and apartment configurations


The Plugg Inn building is a five storey building. We focus on creating a living bottom floor.

The Plug Inn building is a five storey building. We focus on creating a living bottom floor.

The pillar beam system is based on a module concept where the basic module is made up of glulam beams with the measures 8 x 8 meters. Each module therefore covers a total area of 64 sqm, and the actual living area of each module will be 48 sqm. Every module will contain two apartments, each with 24 sqm living area. The actual building will then consist of 5 modules placed next to each other, and the height of the building will be 5 floors.


The ambition of the project is that every Plug Inn building should have some form of “living bottom floor”, aiming to create interaction with the surroundings. How this is done will be adjusted to the specific conditions on the actual site. One model that we are working with at the moment is that two out of the five modules on the bottom floor will be a public or semi-public space that is payed for by all the tenants collectively, also making it possible for the tenants to utilize this space freely for commercial or other purposes. The three other modules on the bottom floor will then contain ordinary apartments or will be rented out to commercial actors when possible.


The three floors above the bottom floor will be made up of 15 modules, containing 30 apartments. The top floor will be a non-heated space that the tenants can use for storage and other such uses.


Apartment configuration proposal.

Apartment configuration proposal.


Implementation at the three sites chosen for Plug Inn


Flexibility is an important characteristic of the Plug Inn system, and in line with this we are developing three main adaptions of our concept:


1. Barbacka / Bareback: A basic product with simple and economical solutions.
2. Växthuset / Greenhouse: Integration with greenhouse technology and cultivation functions.
3. Solskärmen / Sunscreen: Integration with a climate shielding and smart energy solutions.


The idea is that each Plug Inn project can choose from these three concepts depending on the conditions at the specific building site, as well as the conditions and limitations of the project in general. At this stage in the Plug Inn project, we have chosen three actual sites where we will visualize the Plug Inn building system, in the process also fine-tuning the concept for three different locations. The three sites chosen are as follows:


1. A corner lot in Ulleråker in Uppsala with good conditions for integrating park functions and garden cultivation together with the building.


2. A lot in Ulleråker which in the future city plan is designated as a “central node / location for cultural activity”. Here we focus on visulizing a living bottom floor with public functions.


3. A visualization of how an existing housing project in Husby in Stockholm, built as a whole between 1972 and 1977, can be upgraded with Plug Inn add-ons. Husby replaces Gottsunda in Uppsala, an earlier choice of site with similar characteristics as Husby.


Proposal for student housing infill in Stockholm suburb Husby.

Proposal for student housing infill in Stockholm suburb Husby.