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Design-Build Practicum - The HyggeHaus

Architecture Research Collaborative


Design-Build Practicum



Event Date


Organizing Team:

Robert Williams, Kent Hicks (Kent Hicks Construction) and Carl Fiocchi (Building Construction and Technology Program)


Design-Build Practicum - The HyggeHaus

In collaboration with Kent Hicks Construction, eight students from the Department of Architecture and the Building Construction and Technology Program are working together on a design-build project, a net-zero energy micro-house. Over the course of an intensive two-week January term design session, students met with many local professionals, including architects, landscape architects, policy makers from local municipalities, specifiers, builders, and building scientists, to understand the opportunities and challenges of developing small, energy efficient alternatives to conventional housing. Ultimately, through a collaborative process, the students decided to design an approximately 300 square foot micro-house that could serve as an Accessory Dwelling Unit. Simultaneously, they articulated a series of ambitious priorities for the project including net-zero energy, net-zero carbon, affordability, accessibility, social and climate equity, and health.

The proposed design deemed the “HyggeHaus,” is a modest and efficient studio-style dwelling unit, inspired by the popular Danish concept, Hggye, which refers to coziness and comfort. Accordingly, the students intend for the design to enable a feeling of contentment in a rather small space. To enhance the unit's potential impact and appeal, the students designed this studio to be a basic module that could, in theory, be expanded to an either one or two bedroom dwelling unit to meet different or changing occupant needs. Designed around relatively conventional wood stud framing and wood trusses with both cavity and outboard insulation, the HyggeHaus is net-zero energy and employs recycled and low carbon materials throughout. In lieu of a conventional concrete foundation, the house will sit on foundation screws for low impact.  It also features an innovative prefab construction system that will allow it to be repeatably shipped, assembled, and disassembled.