Cardboard modules for a sustainable living

Drawerbox is a constructive system based on prefabricated-units, with a logic that combines a frame structure built on-site with standard boxes produced serially. Sustainability is at the core of our design concept, and high standards are achieved with the use of wood-derived materials and a modular diagrammatic scheme. Logistics is what makes our design very efficient: construction processes are carried on simultaneously, reducing time and costs in order to make the project affordable. The proposal is functional to different needs, adaptable in terms of size and occupancy, and suitable to different places, from the city to the countryside.

The whole building is very much like an assembly kit, that includes a timber structure, ready-made modules with furniture, and prefabricated exterior panels. Steel is only used for joints and reinforcing cables, while the exterior cladding is made of recycled plastic, that has better weatherproof capacity compared to wood. Due to cardboard extreme lightness, there is a remarkable reduction in dead loads and it is then possible to build higher than in other timber buildings.

Not using load-bearing modules placed one on the other ensures a higher degree of flexibility on floor plan configurations. For example, in a stacked pile of units it would not be possible to free up space right at middle height, and making changes time after construction would be a big issue as well. Instead, keeping structural and dwelling functions separated, we can develop different types of building with variable heights, arrange floor plans as required and rearrange everything later. The structural frame doesn’t need to be uniformly filled with modules, which is ideal for collective spaces and, if changes are needed, modules can be inserted directly with a crane.

Ecology is pursued not only by using sustainable materials, such as timber and cardboard but also with bioclimatic strategies. Dwelling modules are made of 25 cardboard layers wrapped in a single shell. This ensures high insulation properties and reduces the amount of energy required for warming purposes. To prevent overheating the building provides ventilated facade panels and glass surfaces are well protected against direct sunlight with balconies and windows set back.

Temperate-climate cities




Andrea LUI, Carlo Andrea VESCOVI