The Three Little Pigs Never Thought of This!
In my reading on environmentally friendly ways of dealing with housing and renovation, I think I've come across the ultimate: an architect by the name of John Johnston has renovated his own home and used cardboard for the walls between rooms.
Yes, you read that correctly. Cardboard. Apparently, he wasn't the first one to use cardboard as a building material! A Japanese architect by the name of Shigeru Ban was Johnston's inspiration. Ban had made temporary homes out of cardboard tubes for victims of earthquakes who had no shelter. Another architect, Frank Gehry, used cardboard for furniture almost 30 years ago. So Johnston wasn't blazing new ground, amazingly enough.
So how does cardboard stack up? (Sorry -- couldn't resist the pun.) Well, the walls in Johnston's home are panels made of sheets of cardboard folded back multiple times in order to create a sturdy but hollow wall. In turn, each cardboard "panel" is held to the floor by glue. This makes the whole layout of the home easy to change! Just soften the glue, pull up the wall, and move it. The cardboard panels are not attached at the top and there is a gap between the wall and the ceiling. This allows for expansion and contraction, depending on the humidity, without damage to the wall.
The natural colour of cardboard has been made a design element in Johnston's home. The cardboard walls provide a warm brown color, against white "structural" walls which are part of the building.
This approach is a dream for those who like to change their interior design often! Think of it as an eco-friendly way to be trendy.