ITR_courtyard_small.jpgThe B Home is a conceptual modular shelter system currently being developed by Peter Abrams and Graham Apgar of Modern Metal Work LLC. It represents a fast, cheap way to provide shelter and security for those in need. Unlike current approaches like tents and trailers, the B Home is also designed to support a sustainable community. It was inspired by the geometric efficiency and communal benefits of the honeycomb structure in beehives. The name has a triple meaning:
  • B HOME: A plan B, an alternative home, a fall-back plan. A basic shelter for those without one.
  • BE HOME: Simply a place to be, a place to rest, store modest belongings, and feel safe.
  • BEE HOME: Inspired by the honey bees, whose honeycomb reminds us of the art of community and space organization.

An example of biomimicry, the B Home derives inspiration from the honeycomb of a beehive, efficiently enclosing space with a hexagonal lattice. The hexagon design provides more enclosed space in a smaller area using less materials and energy. Each unit provides a safe, comfortable and private space for individuals to sleep and store basic belongings. Together, the units form a strong, interconnected structure where utilities are efficiently shared. The B Home offers a more permanent, stable and efficient alternative to other low-cost shelter systems, as well as providing a sense of community through architecture.

princeton.pngThe B Home has been in development since 2005. A full-scale proof of concept was fabricated in 2009 and deployed in an abandoned building in Trenton NJ for real world testing. It was inhabited for a period of its deployment. Based on the results, the design was revised and a stronger, more robust prototype has evolved. Collaborating with Dr. Wole Soboyejo at Princeton University since 2010, the Engineering Projects In Community Service (EPICS) program has selected the B Home as a design project and has secured a Kurtz Foundation grant.

With many homeless and displaced individuals in the world, there is an immense need for a housing system which is low cost, easily constructed, yet sustainable and long lasting. In the U.S. there is a growing market for cheap, basic housing. We see the B Home as an appealing solution for displaced youth, migrant workers, travelers, and anyone interested in inexpensive shelter.

In addition, there is a growing interest in environmentally conscious building techniques and utility systems, both of which are integrated into the B Home design. The project therefore meets sustainable “Triple Bottom Line” criteria, offering a solution for basic social needs, taking into account environmental factors, and potentially gererating profit and economic growth.

Modern Metal Work is partnering with relief organizations, venture capitalists, companies specializing in sustainable energy systems, and anyone interested in helping bring this vision to life. We are dedicated to creating a safe, comfortable, and dignified space for people and the planet.

We are in the process of implementing an art project demonstrating the capability of building our structure out of nearly 100% recycled and locally harvested materials. These include used shipping pallets, tires, bamboo and clay. Though it will not be a fully functional model, it will demonstrate the potential strength and versatility of these materials when arranged into hexagonal shape.

Current Design and Construction Process

Currently, we using shipping pallets to make the B Home. Pallets are efficient in that they can be easily and inexpensively obtained, but inconvenient because there are variations within each size. However, this new design allows for a greater degree of tolerance, so shipping pallets are acceptable as building materials.

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1: Pallets are placed on the ground to make a flat foundation for the home.

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2: The walls of the first unit are put up using a template made out of two-by-fours.

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3. The front faces are gapped about three feet apart to allow for an opening.

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4: The back face is added to the B Home. It is exactly like the front, but joined together.

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5: After all the remaining walls are placed onto the structure, the B Home is near complete!

Early Designs

Initially, we tried to he structures using tubular steel, but along the way we discovered that there were inherent design flaws with this method. This process called for precise measurements, which our previous materials and tools could not always meet.

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Pallet B Home in the Round

Pallet B Home in the Round
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