Among the honorable mentions of the MILAN AFFORDABLE HOUSING CHALLENGE! We are deeply grateful for this recognition!

Check out the details of the competition here:

Read the interview here:

Kioma is a modular building system with a focus on efficiency, lightness, and low environmental impact. 

By blending together principles from early airplane designs, traditional Milanese balcony-access housing, and sustainable construction practices, this system offers its residents an affordable and versatile housing solution with the community and environment at its heart.

The design emulates early airplane structures of delicate wooden members, textiles and tension cables by combining the strength of cross-laminated timber (CLT) construction with lightweight ETFE skin and tensegrity principles to create a sustainable and adaptable housing solution that maximizes space utilization while minimizing environmental impact. 


The basic CLT structural module – a central column, tapered beams, and triangular grid of joists, mimics the efficient branching structure of trees to optimize the area per mass ratio, creating a lightweight yet resilient framework. This lightness together with CLT’s carbon-negative footprint contributes to reducing the environmental impact of the construction.


Using a modular system allows for easy shipping, assembly, disassembly, or alteration- accommodating changing needs and minimizing waste. 


The organization of spaces around a common courtyard is inspired by Milan’s traditional balcony-access houses and is promoting a sense of community and interaction among residents.


The envelope, made of ultra-lightweight ETFE cushions, is echoing early aircraft textile materials and offers superior performance compared to traditional glass, including enhanced durability, insulation, and reduced weight.

Furthermore, tensegrity principles are implemented through the use of tension cables running from the roof to the ground, stabilizing and suspending the building. This enables to even further reduce the mass and load of the structure while maintaining stability.


The common ground as the space with shared benefits that arise from creating diverse and inclusive communities. By integrating affordable housing within mixed-income developments, residents from different socioeconomic backgrounds could interact. This approach promotes economic mobility, and enhances access to amenities and services.

Team: Ofir Albag, Martin Huba, Fatemeh Motalleb ©albaghuba