Q&A: Nice Architects delves into details about the Ecocapsule

The Ecocapsule’s spherical shape is selected due to the form’s small surface area to internal volume.

In today’s society where levels of wanderlust are riding high, people are thriving to find new ways to explore the world they live in. Slovakian firm, Nice architects has responded to this desire by designing the Ecocapsule; a portable, self-sustaining, luxury micro-home. The original idea was designed for the Andes Sprout Society idea competition in 2008 but due to limited technology the idea was never completed. With further advances, the Ecocapsule is now complete and on the verge of hitting the mass market. The micro-home has no limits as to where it can go – the low-energy design provides extended off-grid stay with the advantage of easy mobility. In order to get a better grasp of the Ecocapsule and its cutting-edge design we decided to have a chat with Nice architects.

What originally inspired you to participate in Andes Sprout Society idea competition in 2008?
The main incentive of the competition was that the winning entries will be built on the Andes Sprout Society farm. It was very tempting for a new architectural studio.

With limited technology in 2008, what developments have allowed you to finish designing the Ecocapsule v2 in 2014?
Mainly the rapid development in the field of solar cells and batteries. The efficiency of reasonably-priced solar cells has nearly doubled and the price of batteries has significantly lowered.

Has the function of the Ecocapsule directly influenced the form?
Yes, the main function of the Ecocapsule is to be as much energy efficient as possible. Spherical shape are characterized by small surface area to internal volume. To minimize energy loss, we designed the outside shell so it will have a relatively low surface area and a big internal volume to support all activities.

By allowing the design to be pre-fabricated and shipped to the buyer, how can you ensure the Ecocapsule will withstand the environment and climate it gets placed in?
We have prepared climate analytical software for various locations and we plan to advise clients on the usage of the capsule in certain locations and if it can meet the expectations. An onboard computer and smart weather prediction will tune up the system to maximum efficiency in local conditions.

In a society where customization is highly desired, how do you plan on dealing with this once the Ecocapsule hits mass market?
Ecocapsule was designed with customization in mind. In future phases, there will be plethora of surface variations, materials, colours and interior configurations available.

How much will it cost?
We are currently working on serial production preparation. We are optimizing configuration to fits to most of the usage scenarios and climates. Because it is a work in progress, we cannot give the final price at the moment. We will start taking pre-orders in the last quarter of 2015. Price as well as all technical and delivery details will be revealed before this date.

Photos courtesy of Tomas Manina & Juraj Fifik

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