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Holland Composites Fabricates “Space Boxes” for Housing

  • Friday, 3rd September 2004
  • Reading time: about 3 minutes

Holland Composites develops new composite “space box” houses as a temporary housing solution.

Located in Lelystad in The Netherlands, Reichhold customer Holland Composites specializes in building large and complex composites structures that satisfy both high mechanical and visual demands. Among the company’s many composites applications is the “Space Box”.

Space Boxes are compact, composite housing units which are “stacked” together to create temporary housing. “In Holland there is a great need of temporary housing for students and this seemed to be a great solution,“ said Pieterjan Dwarshuis, co-founder of Holland Composites.

“We got in touch with student housing companies, showed them our concept and they liked it.” We started as a small company in 1991, as I graduated from university, majoring in industrial design. My hobby was sailing, and before we knew it, we were building boats and decided to expand in production and work on industrial design, as raising boats brought lots of time pressure and irregular production times, Pieterjan Dwarshuis explained. “After boats, we moved to composite trucks and made all kinds of panels for airfreight containers. Then, we developed business in windmills, specializing in production of the carbon fibre tipshafts for rotorblades”.

Holland Composites management team saw that there were many opportunities for composites applications in building and construction, especially when different and complicated shapes were required. So they developed the Space Box.

Dwarshuis’ colleague, Olivier Lauteslager, Industrial Designer, explains the design of Space Boxes. “It is not difficult to build the composite box, but it is very difficult to meet all regulations regarding the living space,” he explains. “Safety regulations, fire regulations, ventilation, noise, atmosphere in the boxes such as moisture, all of these building regulations are very strict, even for temporary living.”

“We applied many different techniques, from epoxy to resin injection,” Dwarshuis explained. “And as the time progressed we developed resin injection. Our specialty is now in all types of resin injection,” he added.

“So that was the technical challenge, and then there was a challenge to make something visually appealing,” Dwarshuis says. “Initially, most of the composite boxes looked very bad, quite boring and not very inviting to live in. In addition to all this, the Space Box had to be affordable as well””.

“”It is easy to make something if your budget has no limit. “At that time, our business partner, Kockums shipyard in Karlskrona, Sweden, recommended that we use Reichhold resins since they had a very good experience with Reichhold products,” explains Dwarshuis. “So we did, and we succeeded in satisfying the safety regulations, fire regulations and other needs using Reichhold’s DION FR 820-026 flame-retardant resin. This resin worked very well in the production process as well,” Dwarshuis continued.

Holland Composites can make two to four Space Boxes per day using 350 kg of resin for each box.

The boxes are produced in different colours, as resin is directly mixed with pigment, which means no painting and no visible scratches.

”Today we can deliver the space box in any colour, including very bright colours. As for the inside of the space box, they all look like normal homes, even though the entire wall is made in one piece, giving the place a warm homey feeling.”

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