‘Biome’ Vows to Bring Modular Timber Housing to the World!

New prefabrication designs will now be made available for CREE Building's extensive network of partners across Europe, Asia and North America.

Fri 22 Mar 24


One of the world’s largest prefab building networks has partnered with one of Europe’s leading architecture firms on urbanism, the circular economy and sustainable development to develop a new system that delivers affordable modular housing at scale worldwide.

Earlier this month, Wood Central reported that 3D printing, mass timber, and prefabrication are all in the mix as the world looks to zero-carbon construction. ‘Lego-style’ prefabrication is key to fast, affordable, and energy-efficient construction as global governments develop 2030 roadmaps for net-zero infrastructure.

It's safer, greener and faster - and now global policy makers are turning to prefab and mass timber construction systems to build the next generation of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. (Photo Credit: Image Generated by Wood Central Using OpenAI)
It’s safer, greener and faster – and now global policymakers are turning to prefab and mass timber construction systems to build the next generation of residential, commercial and industrial buildings. (Photo Credit: Image Generated by Wood Central Using OpenAI)

Now, Biome, a collaboration between CREE Buildings and EFFEKT, promises to deliver modular housing scale. It represents a bold departure from conventional construction, using biobased construction materials (including mass timber) in CREE’s established building system to reduce risk, cost, and construction time.

In a joint media statement published this morning, Biome said, “The pressing challenges of modern housing are well-documented: a lack of affordable options, inadequate indoor climate and a one-size-fits-all approach that fails to meet the diverse needs of residents.” 

“These challenges led to unsustainable construction practices and a disjointed approach to planning, where each building project starts from scratch instead of focusing on long-term partnerships and quality optimisation over time.”

Launched in 2010 by Hubert Rhomberg, CREE Buildings is dedicated to sustainable and healthy buildings using prefabricated timber-based components. We have developed the CREE System: proven, reproducible, and constantly evolving solutions for multi-story timber-hybrid buildings. From Europe to Asia to North America, together, we are revolutionizing the construction industry. Footage courtesy of @CREEBUILDINGS

Instead, the system is designed for longevity and disassembly, enabling easy maintenance and renovation throughout their lifetime and reusing and recycling all core components. 

“In other words, they are a real estate product that serves as a material bank, not a resource drain,” the statement said.

According to Sinus Lyne, EFFEKT’s co-founder and creative director, “modern housing is failing both people and the planet,” before adding that “most residential development today is unsustainable, unaffordable, and arguably not livable.”

As a result, “We have partnered with CREE Buildings to develop a modular housing product that combines CREE Buildings’ proven timber-hybrid building system with designs tailored to suit individual housing demands and fit unique urban places…the modular, standardised and highly customisable nature of our housing product challenges the notion of cookie-cutter solutions.”

Renders of a potential mid-rise zero carbon community using BIOME provided by EFFEKT. (Image Credit: EFFEKT)

Already, it has garnered strong interest from developers across Europe, with partners confident it can expand into Asia, where CREE Buildings has a strong presence in Japan and Singapore. 

As reported by Construction Review, Dutch-based ABC Vastgoed is using the concept as part of the urban reactivation of Groningen, while Casasis is looking to use it in new residential projects in Portugal.

The crucial part of the new concept is adaptability, with Biome’s flexible interior allowing residents to upgrade their homes over time with custom-made finishes, furniture and wall divisions.

“Biome is a perfect complement to CREE’s solution for residential building typologies, including prefabricated interior fit-outs, which can be adopted by our implementation partners all over the world,” according to Rainer Strauch, Managing Director and Chief Technology Officer for CREE Buildings. “It also goes beyond just one building by providing cooperative multi-generational living layouts for entire neighbourhoods in a true CREE spirit.”

Renders of the internal features of BIOME, provided by EFFEKT. Residents can replace the interiors as part of a “plug and play.” (Image Credit: EFFEKT)

Mr Straunch confirmed that CREE’s extensive partnership network will now have access to Biome and receive local design support from EFFEKT, “this means that they can benefit from the expertise of both companies to create modular housing solutions that meet their specific needs.”

In 2018, EFFEKT designed the “Urban Village Project” for SPACE10.

“Urban Village Project is a new visionary model for developing affordable and livable homes for the many people living in cities worldwide. The concept stems from a collaboration with SPACE10 on designing, building and sharing our future homes, neighbourhoods and cities,” EFFEKT said.

More about the Urban Village Project:
  • A modular wooden building system designed for disassembly can be prefabricated, flat-packed, and quickly assembled on-site. This ensures a CO2-reducing construction method and a circular approach to our buildings’ management and life cycle.
  • A new financial model that drastically lowers the entry point to the housing market, making high-quality housing affordable for users of all income classes while re-establishing the connection between the developer and the consumer.
  • Cross-generational shared living communities in the hearts of our cities with flexible, high-quality homes connected to various shared services and facilities and a digital interface to support everyday needs.

For more information about the Urban Village, visit EFFEKT’s dedicated website.


  • Wood Central

    Wood Central is Australia’s first and only dedicated platform covering wood-based media across all digital platforms. Our vision is to develop an integrated platform for media, events, education, and products that connect, inform, and inspire the people and organisations who work in and promote forestry, timber, and fibre.


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