The Hygge House1 is a portable, 350 sq. ft, Net Zero, Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) designed and built by students in a collaborative effort between UMass Building & Construction Technology, UMass Architecture, Five College Architectural Studies, & East Branch Studio. The semester-long design-build course that encapsulates this project is led by L. Carl Fiocchi (BCT), Robert Williams (Architecture), Naomi Darling (Five Colleges) and Kent Hicks (East Branch Studio). It offers learning opportunities in high performance construction, construction practices, low load mechanical systems selection and installation, performance verification, and carbon accounting. The project as well as the course helps students understand the climate impacts of carbon in the built environment and explores ways to design and build better structures, as the inefficiency of buildings is responsible for approximately forty percent of global carbon emissions.

After the Build is completed, students will have the opportunity for teaching about the building when the Hygge House is used as an Auxiliary Stage at the Green River Music Festival (June 24- June 26). After the festival the building will be moved to a permanent home in Holyoke, MA where it will fulfill its principal role as an ADU to a new single family residence addressing affordable housing for underserved communities.

You can follow this project throughout the spring semester and beyond on its blog: We will also post images to BCT’s social media channels.

1 The word Hygge is of Danish and Norwegian origins and means “a quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”