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Welcome to Learn More. In these pages we go in depth into some of the technical aspects of MSA engineering, architecture and design.

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Technical 

MSA the new architecture, starts with new engineering. Here are some details explained.

engineering

Cladding:
MSA homes have a unique cladding system (patents pending). The walls and doors are constructed from toughened glass, are triple glazed, sheer and seamless. They can be ultra-clear, coloured (opaque - blocking all light), translucent, printed, textured, electronically switchable, or any mixture of variables. MSA uses self-cleaning glass for all internal and external surfaces. To maximise thermal performance, all the triple glazed exterior walls have double Low-E treatment.
The cladding is Code-mark certified which is the highest rating attainable for the building industry.

Roof:
The whole roof including the gutters, parapet's & soffits is a one-piece 316 stainless steel membrane with no penetrations (including fixing) ensuring a very long maintenance free life. This is another world first innovation from MSA.

The Membrane:
The complete outer membrane of the house is designed by engineers for an extreme long maintenance free life. The construction uses permanent maintenance free materials: 316 stainless steel (marine grade), 316 stainless bolts, self-cleaning glass and permanent extruded silicon-rubber seals. The house also provides a permanent humidity sealed interior allowing for perfectly conditioned air for temperature, humidity and purity.

Plumbing:
The plumbing system is entirely 316 stainless steel including the waste and effluent pipes. All waste and water pipes have high pressure testing to ensure that they will never leak. The plumbing is completely hidden from view but still easily accessible.

Structure:
Structural engineering has also had a complete rethink. The house has been designed to withstand natural disasters such as earthquakes. It’s tough, using structural sections similar to what is used for multi-story buildings. All the structural steel is internal and protected from the weather. Even so, to be sure of permanency, they are nickel metal-sprayed, so will never rust or deteriorate. 

Architectural design:
MSA has gone to extraordinary lengths to create a pillar-less house both around the outside walls and internally. This gives the maximum opportunity for large open spaces or to design the interior walls without structural constraints of any sort which enables future changes to the internal layout to be made easily. This also gives considerable latitude for indoor-outdoor flow with unconstrained positioning and size of external doors and openings. A pillar-less exterior is important for another world first – moving and disappearing walls (multiple walls or all walls) providing the ultimate in indoor-outdoor living (patent pending). 

You’ve got to jump off the cliff all the time and build your wings on the way down.
— Ray Bradbury

Elevation:
All MSA houses are sited on piles (whether single or multi-story).
Being a piled house means that much less site preparation is required and many more options exist for difficult sites: steep, rocky, uneven or unstable land, swamp, sand, or even over water, whilst minimising the disturbance to the natural terrain.The piles are located on the outer edge of the house only which means all floor plates are a single span from edge to edge.
Because the structural engineering is already done, this allows considerable future opportunity for a basement or garage. Or, as the house is designed for 3m elevation, it is very economical to add a whole new lower level. 
Being elevated from the ground eliminates issues of coldness, dampness and leaks which provides a healthy dry warm home forever and added protection from flooding. 
The homes are structurally designed to be at an elevation anywhere from 3cm to 3mtr allowing many options from capturing the view to preserving native bush.

Maintenance:
All services such as plumbing and power run under the floor and are easily accessible

Smart

Automation:
Automation of the home is another key factor to achieve the objectives that MSA has set. The MSA House redefines home automation, control and management of systems. The future is touch with sensitive interfaces, clear symbols and a user friendly intelligent control system that is as easy, as intuitive and as elegant as modern computer tablets and mobile phones. The MSA home automation is future proof, using standard protocols with automatic updating over the internet. The system is also designed to be easily maintained and up-gradable over decades.

Technology:
The standard system that is included with the house can be operated from the tablet supplied, cell phones, laptops etc. or by voice control using the robotic system Jibo (optional). The system controls and/or monitors: Lighting, Climate, Blinds and Curtains, Sun-light, Energy and consumption, Entertainment, Communications, Internet, Doors and Locks, Air and Water. The optional upgraded system (still under development) will control and monitor much more. 

 

Energy

Active energy:
Energy is a hot topic. But it is also something that can easily be solved on an individual basis. For MSA it’s very simple, just provide more free energy than what you, the house and a couple of EV’s consume. We call this an active house. Unlike a passive house that attempts to use as little energy as possible and hence has to compromise on a multitude of comfort and environmental factors, MSA believe it is better to invest in ample alternate energy from the start, so all MSA houses provide this, primarily with photo-voltaic cells (solar panels). This isn’t an option, it’s another new normal. Based on the average energy consumption in New Zealand homes the MSA house supplies about twice what you need. The excess provides EV charging, the peace of mind not having to worry about energy use (ever), and because MSA houses are grid tied, there’s plenty left to send back to the grid repaying the embodied energy used to create the house and a possibility of a cheque from the power company every month to boot.

Home Batteries:
The MSA way means you don’t need batteries. The grid becomes your battery storage effectively. So long as you put more into the grid than you take out, you are energy and carbon neutral and contributing to the reduction of burning fossil fuels and carbon emissions.

 

Materials

Sustainable materials:
MSA only use environmentally sustainable building materials. All materials used are sourced from 99.9% sustainable resources. All material used are 99.9% recyclable forever. They can be sustainably recycled over and over endlessly, either by artificial means or naturally. This is often called a circular system which is part of a circular economy (see below) The construction materials that we use are: nickel metal sprayed construction steel, stainless steel, toughened glass and reinforced concrete. We have paid great attention to use them in a way that feels warm and inviting and a little minimalist to allow the maximum opportunity for you to create your preferred style. Not only are these primary material 99.9% environmentally sustainable, they offer substantial benefits otherwise and are the new normal.
Steel, glass and concrete is made from the most abundant materials on the planet: iron, silica and gravel, so there's no shortage, and no risk of exhausting the supply because all are 100% recyclable, natural and will return to earth without causing any environmental damage whatsoever. Mining of these materials causes minimum and very localised damage only, which can be returned to its natural state quickly and easily leaving no discernible trace of human intrusion.

Durability:
Heavy steel and glass sections, thick concrete bases that make for a strong, almost indestructible house offering high protection from earthquakes, flooding and extreme weather conditions.

Maintenance:
The complete external membrane: roof, walls, window frames and an underfloor weather shields are made from 316 stainless steel, self-cleaning toughened glass and permanent extruded silicon rubber seals, providing the maximum possible protection from the elements and maintenance free for expected 100 years plus.

Steel:
The world has already passed 'peak steel'. Despite a growing population steel production is in decline in real terms. This mean, ultimately, that it won't be very long until we have all the steel that we will ever need because it is 100% recyclable, indefinitly. We soon won't need to manufacture any more at all. A similar story exists for glass and is potentially the case for concrete as it can also be recycled 100%. 

Carbon use:
In respect to the energy needed to make these materials: Concrete is a low energy material; Steel and Glass are medium energy materials, far less than plastics and aluminium that are 5-10 times higher energy use. This means the MSA house can repay the embodied energy much faster, rendering it energy and carbon neutral within about 5 years of construction.

The Circular Economy
 

A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design, and aims to keep products, components, and materials at their highest utility and value at all times. The concept distinguishes between technical and biological cycles.

As envisioned by the originators, a circular economy is a continuous positive development cycle that preserves and enhances natural capital, optimises resource yields, and minimises system risks by managing finite stocks and renewable flows. It works effectively at every scale.
source: Ellen MacArthurfoundation

A circular economy is one that is restorative and regenerative by design, and which aims to keep products, components and materials at their highest utility and value at all times, distinguishing between technical and biological cycles.
— https://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy

 

Architectural design

The simple, minimal blank canvas that our homes offer allows the interior of the house (or individual rooms) to be far more ‘you’ with furnishings and finishes: wooden floors, antiques, paintings, high-tech entertainment, plush drapes or whatever is desired. The exterior can also be simple or highly personalised: Ultra clear walls or: smoky, coloured, textured, printed, even in-filled walls (filling the transparent and sealed wall cavity with any substance, limited only by your imagination, such as: lighting, river stones, living plants, art, coloured, swirling or bubbling liquids etc. ad infinitum. Anything is possible and easily changed.

The home entertainment system and mood lighting allows you to choose from the library, create or save any colourful, ambient, exciting, busy, minimal, fast, slow, conservative, romantic or high-tech environmental mood you want. Welcome to the new normal.

Spacial

MSA has focussed on great attention to details, health aspects, climate, living comfort and spacial design. You can read more here about all that here.

Space

MSA style is minimal and functional, offering calm and peace, a haven in an otherwise complex and busy world. MSA homes aspire to connect with the outdoors bringing beauty or nature right into the home if desired, but still giving you all the control. The MSA home provides the opportunity to connect with the elements, experience the changing weather patterns and natural (or created) surroundings like never before within the comfort and warmth of your own home. Not just watching it through a framed window, but enjoying the sensation of being immersed in it, whilst retaining the control to block it out. The heavy triple glazing will block almost all sound from the outside and the insulated double glazed internal walls will sound proof any room from the rest of the house, allowing absolute quiet or undisturbed audio enjoyment of your favourite artist, movie, TV or one of the many sound moods provided by the home automation system such as: wind, rain, ocean, birdsong etc. Or go natural and open everything up to enjoy the natural sounds from outside or the laughter of children.
It’s all at your (touch/voice) control. The new normal.

 

 

Breath

Our houses are humidity sealed allowing no unwanted moisture or condensation and provide conditioned and highly filtered air at your control, so they’re warm and dry. MSA homes are mould, toxin and allergy-free zones and as such are the most suitable homes available for people afflicted with hay fever and respiratory problems such as asthma etc. The air inside will be healthier than the air outside. They are exceptionally well insulated with triple glazing and double wool ceiling and floor insulation. The concrete floor is elevated from the ground on piles and can be warmed by free solar heat transfer. Concrete is an effective material for holding heat (or cold) especially when it’s well insulated. The house will possibly require no other heating for the most part. Humidity and temperature can be controlled and monitored for individual rooms providing the most comfortable and personalised environment possible. All forced air is fresh from outside, there is no recycled air. Energy is saved with a state-of-the-art heat recovery system that transfers heat (or cold) from the outgoing stale air to the fresh incoming air. Low volume vents on each side of the bed/s provide controlled cooled air to simulate that of an opened window, and thus conserve the ambient warmth in the bedroom or house generally. This is the new normal. 

Chilled water on tap can be provided on each side of the bed, satisfying that much desired pure cool water without having to traipse to the kitchen.

Of course, you can also open everything up to the outside, much more so than other homes with very large double doors (3M x 3M opening) and disappearing exterior walls or multiple walls (patent pending) providing the ultimate in indoor/outdoor living.
 

 

More time

An MSA home offers more financial freedom and gives you more time. MSA are dedicated to providing low cost high value homes without compromising quality. The MSA home is maintenance free, no more expensive plumbing bills, house painting or roof repairs etc. Never again will you get a power bill or water charges. The savings easily allow you to invest in an electric vehicle (EV) and never again will you have to pay for petrol, and vehicle maintenance costs will be far less than petrol cars. You will have more time for the things that really matter. Zero maintenance, self-cleaning surfaces and automated functions free your time for the fun things in life. This is living in the 21st century – the new normal.
 

 

Future thinking

MSA welcome you to living in the 21st century. Through innovation and investment, we are dedicated to improving the quality of homes and the quality of living for people now and future generations. All MSA homes are designed for sustainability in more ways than one: timeless design, durability and affordability. We believe our homes will stand the test of time, function and look as good in the future as they do now.

MSA homes are future-proofed, timeless architecture, designed for easy and inexpensive upgrades, add-ons, extensions, and because they are easily transportable, trade-ins. 

 

Environmental recap:

MSA is the first house (possibly the first building) in the world to be 100% sustainable in all respects ie.:

99.9% of materials are sourced from sustainable resources
Building materials are 99.9% recyclable forever by natural or artificial means
Net zero - the house is carbon and energy neutral
The house is self-sustaining for energy and water
The house produces zero building waste
Except for metals and glass, the house recycles 100% ongoing waste (including effluent, plastics and paper)
The house emits zero toxicity and pollutants
The house is maintenance free, allowing zero ongoing environmental impact
All walls are self-cleaning reducing cleaning agents to a tiny fraction of what’s normal.

Awards

2014: NZ Innovator Awards. Finalist  Innovation Council of New Zealand

2014: NZI Sustainable Business Awards: Finalist in 3 categories.

At the Innovation Awards

2017: MSA One-System has been awarded CodeMark certification.
Certifier: Beal
Certificate Register

MSA One-System 

MSA One-System 

Architects

True sustainability starts with communication and collaboration.
— Karl Rusher
New Zealand offers some of the most outstanding architecture in the world and MSA is pleased to be able to offer our architects a new found freedom in construction.
If we can help build your clients dream building, please don't hesitate to get in touch.