On the island of Roatán, Honduras, Zaha Hadid Architects (ZHA), in collaboration with AKT II and Hilson Moran, is developing an architectural platform called Roatán Próspera. The project’s design is entirely modular and relies on the use of sustainable wood, from certified forests on the Honduran continent and processed locally, to create the main structural elements.
The complex, which is expected to begin construction later this year, will be a modular construction consisting of wood-frame residences with curved palapa roofs, large terraces with rounded balconies and green spaces, designed with reference to the traditional building techniques of the region. Zaha Hadid Architects plans to use wood from certified forests in mainland Honduras, as part of its goal to develop a local supply chain to make the project more environmentally friendly. The firm is working with computer engineers AKT II to develop a ‘kit of parts’ describing the elements needed to build Roatán Próspera without wasting materials. According to the proposal, the modules will be manufactured off-site and transported via local networks, with the goal of reducing carbon emissions and avoiding harm to the site’s wildlife. Residents will have access to digital parametric software developed by the Computational and Design ZHA group to customize the size, layout and furnishings of their housing module. This digital platform adapts variable configurations of standardized rooms to create custom homes. Each resident chooses the location and dimensions of their custom unit using ‘voxels’, the name given to the three-dimensional volumes of professional and exclusionary space granted to the owner with their selection, each measuring 35 square meters and 4 meters high. The owner can choose a single voxel or use up to five to build their unit, resulting in 15,000 unique arrangements. As part of the process, users can also determine the layout of their unit and select a number of furniture and modules, including dressing rooms and conversation corners, or simply use local suppliers to do so. According to the company, the materials and construction method allow for quick assembly and disassembly, so any living space can be reconfigured or recycled. Passive strategies developed with environmental engineering consultancy Hilson Moran are also designed to reduce the building’s energy consumption. They include a dehumidification system that extracts water from the atmosphere and filters it for domestic use, as well as shade canopies equipped with photovoltaic panels. The island of Roatán is already a well-known tourist destination and Roatán Próspera will strengthen and diversify the local economy, while creating housing defined by its natural environment.