Self Sustained Modules

Location: Matosinhos, Portugal
Date: 2003
Honourable Mention in Prémio Internacional de Arquitectura Sustentável, by the Architecture Faculty of Ferrara
Honourable Mention in Habitação Singular competition, by the Consejo Superior de los Colégios de Arquitectos de España (CSCAE)

Client: Exponor

Fátima Fernandes and Michele Cannatà

Riccardo Cannatà
Dário Cannatà
Marta Lemos
Isabella Fera
Miguel Meirinhos
Cristina Neves
Nuno Castro
Cláudia Amorim

Structural Engeneering
Gop – João Maria Sobreira

Gop – Raquel Fernandes

Mechanical Engeneering
Get – Raul Bessa

Electric Engeneering
Lightplan – Fernando Silva

Photographic credits
Luís Ferreira Alves

DST – Domingos da Silva Teixeira, S.A.
CAPA – Engenharia e Construções Metalomecânicas, S.A.


The prototypes executed for the companies DST and CAPA in the CONCRETA 2003, pretend to give a multiplicity of answers regarding its function. The developing of a typology of modules that can give answer to the problems of temporary housing, environmental observatory, fire outpost, bar, small store, “virtual place” or minimum element garters condition of communication throughout technological systems was a priority.
The intension is to produce a module that can be repeated and associated almost to the infinity. It is a module witch characteristic stands on its functionality metamorphoses , capable of building urban situations using its association, together with its complete autonomy (Foundations and structures, and water and sewer Equipment’s, Home Control, Facilities, and Electric Equipment). The module is capable of giving, as said a multiplicity of answers regarding several problems, with its resources to energy savings materials and processes, more precisely “photovoltaic panels”. This module is destined to areas where deep modifications are not possible or profitable, examples like in natural parks where construction is clearly contrary of its purpose, or city squares regarding a more simple and temporary solution , in beaches where infrastructures are hard to combine.
Each module has as surface of 3,00m with for 9,00m long, with an area of 27m2. This structure pretends to be previously elaborated, in order not to offer any trouble with the assembly after the transport which is made with truck or helicopter.
Each module or container besides giving an answer to new form of space appropriation , pretend to be open to the use of new materials and technologies getting more effective control over energetic problems, and using new resistant and light material.

Electrical installations
The Project of the self sustained modules is composed by:
- energy production system, with photovoltaic panels
- lighting / EIB
- General use electrical plugs.
- Phones / informatics
- Security detections alarm
- Protections systems

Energy production systems, though the installation of photovoltaic panels
The solution is composed by 20 panels SIMENS / SHELL SM110-24V, summing together 2.200 Watts, and an overage of 5.760 kWh, 1 hybrid inversor SUNPOWER PV UP 3000 ( allows a connection to a diesel generator ), a block of batteries EXIDE-CLASSIC OPzS Solar 660 of 660Ah at 48V which will allow a 3 day autonomy.
The panel have an area of 17, 5 m2 (1,316 0, 6609 x 20). In the interior the block of batteries have an effective area of 0,75m2 (0,147 x 0,208 x 24), having a height of 0,405m and a weight of 560kg, the incersor has an area of 0,1m2 (0,330 x 0,250 x 1) and a weight of about 35kg.
The philosophy adopted for the lighting system consist in the use of low level fluorescents lamps. The control system is EIB which allows:
- On/off and intensity variations of all the light with remote control or regular fixed controls

Water supply
The module has a W.C and a small kitchen, self sustained through a water deposit and a hidro pressure, located in the technical area. The deposit has a volume of 500 litters, and was dimensioned to do face a 3 day without water renewal.

Water drainage
The option was to work with vacuum system, assembled by a vacuum toilet, vacuum pipes and vacuum central. The individual water supplies of the sink and the shower will connect through a vacuum interface unit that throughout pressure valves will flush through the central vacuum pipes to the vacuum central. The toilet connects directly to the vacuum central.

Mechanical installations
Thee options were conceded, each one supported by the photo voltaic panel and its respective battery for a production of 2, 4 kW of energy to artificial light and household:

Option 1
Just heating of the water supply thought a solar panel supported by a resistance connected to the photo voltaic panel.
Option 2
Just heating of the water supply thought a solar panel supported with a gas heating system, witch will also produce hot water supply of 90Cº, to maintain environmental heating.
Option 3
Heating of the water supply thought a solar panel supported by a resistance connected to the photo voltaic panel, and environmental heating throughout a heating unit directly connected to the photovoltaic panel.