HANNAH utilizes salvaged materials, 3D printing, and robotic technology to create an otherworldly cabin in upstate New York.
Leslie Lok and Sasa Zivkovic combined 3D printing, robotic fabrication technology, and wood infested with emerald ash borer beetles to create an off-grid tiny home named the Ashen Cabin. The pair are assistant professors of architecture at Cornell University, and coprincipals of the New York–based design firm HANNAH.
“The cabin is a combination of our design research and thinking in response to the urgent condition of our natural environment and possible modes of intervention,” Lok says. “It demonstrates our potentially replicable use of relatively new technologies that allow us to advance both formal and technological innovation in the discipline of architecture.”
Emerald ash borer beetles are an invasive species thought to have been introduced to American forests via human trade and travel in the summer of 2002—and they currently threaten 8.7 billion trees across the country and almost one in 10 ash trees in New York state. Once the trees have been infested, they typically decompose or are burned for energy.
“Unfortunately, both scenarios release CO2 into the atmosphere, and so the advantage to using compromised ash for construction is that it both binds the carbon to the earth, and offsets the harvesting of more commonly used wood species,” Zivkovic says. “Infested ash trees are a very specific form of waste material ,and our inability to contain the blight has made them so abundant that we can and should develop strategies to use them as a material resource. The ‘waste wood’ is an abundantly available, affordable, and sustainable building material.”
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