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Redhouse Studio is focused on research and implementing those findings on structures in the community. They are focused on developing "green buildings" using less expanded polystyrene which is common in LEED certified buildings. Polystyrene never biodegrades, making it harmful for the environment and unsustainable.
Redhouse Studio is driven by finding an alternative to expanded polystyrene and other materials current green certified buildings use. Redhouse Studio found that poor materials are adding to climate change which in turn is displacing people, creating an unhealthy cycle of homelessness.
One way Redhouse Studio is innovative is with the partnerships they have built with NASA and MIT. Researchers have found a way to create bio-materials, taking materials such as wood and insulation from old houses and recycling them into new, fully functional pieces. These bricks have little to no carbon footprint and will be the future of the planet by reducing the need for resource extraction such as logging and other harmful practices.
In addition, they design and create ideas for use all over the world. For example, Maurer served as Director of MASS Design Group in Rwanda and helped lead the design and construction of homes in rural areas there. He wanted to attract the best doctors worldwide to Rwanda and sited these homes, designed for comfort and dignity, on a hill with amazing views over the valley across the border into Uganda.
Maurer started Redhouse Studio after spending time in African countries working for humanitarian organizations. This lead to his understanding of working with limited resources and inspired him in his practice to reduce material inputs and leverage the building process to make maximum positive impact. Also, he is working with leading researchers at NASA and MIT to develop and promote new bio-materials. When he came back to the United States, he remained conscious about the carbon footprint when designing architecture and having a deeper understanding about materials used. The idea behind the innovation comes from the need to help the planet thrive and be sustainable by developing less harmful materials as building options.
The team works on developing bio-materials, helping humanitarian organizations and designing buildings in countries all over the world. For example, the Haitian Community Center now has a library, classrooms and a hospital. Maurer was also the project architect for the Malawi Academy for Girls which was supposed to be a boarding school for the brightest of the poor in that country. Working with studio MDA, he coordinated a pro-bono international team of engineers and designers including ARUP, AKT, and Transsolar, an extensive local team of experts, and the Government of Malawi. The project lacked funding and the project was put on hold.
Maurer has lived and worked as an architect in New York City, Anchorage, Firenze, Kigali, and Lilongwe. One project that is expanding the business is the work with bio-materials. Currently they are working on a project called biocycler which is the process of producing sustainable materials. The idea is to make a mobile recycling station that produces this material which is stronger than most woods. This station has all the steps needed to turn a pile of wood into a new building.
In Africa, Maurer designed and built many humanitarian projects for such clients as Madonna, Partners in Health, the UN Millennium Village Project, the Clinton Global Initiative, Jeff Gordon Children's Foundation, and Noella Coursaris. His client list is growing as more people become aware of his past accomplishments and is leading the growth of the company.
The research and implementation of what Redhouse Studio does can have a massive benefit to both society and the environment. There is a need to delve deeper into the true meaning of what it takes to be "green" and reduce the carbon footprint of architecture including residential home, offices and public buildings. Maurer noted that using non-biodegradable materials in homes leads to climate change which forces people out of their homes and creates a cycle of re-homing and other problems. His research focused on finding a bio-material that has no carbon footprint, thus making a stable structure out of a recycled house or building.
Christopher Mauer, Founder
Redhouse Studio was founded in 2014 in Cleveland, OH by Christopher Maurer and engages in all facets of architecture, from research and innovation in low-impact material technologies, to design and fabrication, to building, commissioning and net-zero retrofits. They split their resources between market rate projects, humanitarian design, and research and education. They work closely with their clients to innovate and design sustainable solutions built for a brighter future for all.