pallet house 4After the Metla House in Joensuu (Wednesday) and the ancestral temple from Quzhou at La Monnaie (yesterday) I completed the week with a visit to the Pallethouse at the Quai aux Briques. The Pallethouse was designed by two young Austrian architects, Andreas Claus Schnetzer and Gregor Pils, as an ecological and yet also aesthetical response to the challenge of cheap housing. Their basic idea is to recycle the ubiquitous wooden pallet, which otherwise is so often burnt, particularly in poorer parts of the world.  Once properly insulated, using cheap local materials such as straw, the pallets are transformed into malleable building blocks. The European Economic and Social Committee brought the Pallethouse to Brussels as part of its contribution to Save It! week. Today, in a tent beside the Pallethouse, the Committee organised a public debate, centred around the Overshoot campaign (I’ll do separate posts in due course about Save It! and Overshoot!). Afterwards, the President of the EESC’s TEN Section, Janos Toth, introduced me to the architects. You can read more about the Pallethouse at In three days I have seen three very different wooden constructions in three very different contexts, but the underlying conclusion is clear; we should remember wood and use it more.pallet house


  1. Hi Martin,

    This is very interesting indeed. I do have one question though but I presume this will have been taken into account, what about fire hazard? A wooden house is obviously more prone to that then a concrete or brick construction.

    On another note, several years ago I met a couple who live in The Netherlands and they installed parquet flooring in their house by breaking down pallets into separate planks. The result is astonishingly beautiful and very cheap.

  2. Martin

    29/09/2009 at 9:40

    Interestingly, the wood is safer than steel in a fire. This is because, I am told, steel snaps in a fire, whereas wood burns quite slowly. In both cases the structure is destroyed, but in the case of wood inhabitants would have time to get out before the structure collapses…

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