Able to be constructed in a matter of weeks, Ecomo homes uses off-site production to create rapid assembly modular dwellings that are as stunning as they are sustainable.

Designed around green principles, Ecomo homes offer a low-cost, low-maintenance green housing alternative. Built using sustainable and recyclable materials, their prefabricated modular components can be assembled to make a variety of sizes and layouts, and finishes.

Created by Italian-born architect Pietro Russo, the modular approach is intended to enable a green approach that creates buildings and systems that work in harmony with nature. Russo was inspired by work during his studies on modular housing schemes in Thailand using modified steel shipping containers.

These projects were a great teacher in terms of designing for the efficient and creative use of space. Russo took these learnings with him when he moved to South Africa, where Ecomo is based, and used it as the basis of his architectural ethos of designing buildings that blend harmoniously with their environment.

Originally launched in 2010, there are now six innovative Ecomo homes dotted around the Cape Town area. Designed to be more affordable, as well as more sustainable, the choice of materials is a key part of Ecomo’s philosophy.

Ecomo home
With 80% of an Ecomo home built off-site, they can be assembled with very little on-site disruption and wasted material

A harmonious home in record time

At their core, Ecomo homes use a lightweight steel frame on a pile foundation supporting a steel structure on top. Economic, accessible, strong, ductile, and able to be prefabricated to high specifications, steel framing makes perfect sense for modular construction.

Able to be 100% recycled, steel’s sustainable credentials also hold up under scrutiny while ensuring that an Ecomo home can be assembled quickly and to a very high standard. Speed of construction is key, with an average time of 6-8 weeks keeping disruption on site to a minimum.

With 80% of the home built off-site, Ecomo is able to build with very little waste material and to highly accurate schedules, allowing for the occupation to take place as early as possible.

Clad in sustainably sourced cedar wood, the Ecomo home includes windows, full plumbing and electrics, a fitted bathroom, and installed kitchen minus appliances. High-quality finishes are pursued throughout, with full insulation and waterproofing ensuring comfort.

The homes also offer greater sustainability in several ways. The foundations don’t require a full-cast concrete slab but can be built on stilts to limit environmental impact. All are built with flat rooves containing gutters for collecting rainwater which is reused in the household or for irrigation.

Ecomo can install solar panels, which combined with the standard install LED lighting, double glazing and insulation mean lower energy use. Recycled and recyclable materials, such as bamboo or natural fibres, are used throughout the interior.

From the speed and quality of their construction to their limited environmental impact, Ecomo homes are affordable steel-built modular marvels.

Images: Pietro Russo / Ecomo