A fourth-generation family business might not be the first place you turn when searching for innovative solutions in home building. But Grandio’s Hüga Technology, winner of a 2022 Global Innovation Awards Judges Special Award, has done just that by refocusing on offsite, concrete-based home construction.
The company gained momentum after the current leadership’s grandfather, whose parents had immigrated from Italy to Argentina, traveled to Italy for an extended visit. He got to know an Italian engineer and learned about European building technology. When he returned to Argentina, he brought back the latest technology in concrete construction.
This drive to bring the best building methods to home owners continues in the company today.
“Developing new technology is in our DNA,” said Italo Martin, Managing Partner and Head Civil Engineer of Grandio in Cordoba, Argentina. “We’re always studying and searching. We love to do that, and it gives us a lot of possibilities.”
A family team of a sister and three brothers leads the company today. Three of the four siblings are also university teachers and researchers. Working with students at the university has given the team insight into emerging trends.
“A couple of years ago, we noticed that the students’ mindset has changed,” Martin said. “When I was their age, I was thinking about having a career, getting married and buying a house. They just want to be free; they want to travel. They don’t really care about maintaining a job for a long time. The want to work one to two years, save money and travel. The way of living has changed.”
After observing this trend, the team started looking into how this would affect the homes that people wanted. At the same time, the Danish trend of “hyyge” was gaining momentum. “Hygge” means “coziness” and in interior design, that translates into creating a warm atmosphere where people can enjoy the good things in life. They changed the spelling of “hygge” for the phonetic “hüga,” and a new company name was born.
The Hüga Technology team set out to create homes that were suitable for this new way of living: A smaller footprint, cozy, easy to maintain and durable. And using automated processes to achieve the results.
“The construction industry is building much like we did 5,000 years ago,” said Martin. Inspired by the faster, cleaner and more efficient production technology of the automobile industry, they applied these concepts to building to obtain a more efficient product.
The proprietary Hüga Technology software allows builders to track all the procedures during construction. “If you have a problem, you can measure it and learn from it,” Martin said. “To have a good product, you have to track your efforts and improve them each time.”
This technology also allows builders to adjust based on the location. “We analyze the environment and climate and use artificial intelligence to design the home for the specific location, taking into account the quality of air and energy consumption. We don’t just design – we adapt the product and the technological science.”
This is linked to the “hygge” philosophy of living with what you really need. “We don’t design in two dimensions, we design in three,” Martin said. “Each inch of the house has meaning.”
On July 26 from 10:30–11:30 a.m. ET, join Grandio’s Martin and Dave Cooper from Dave Cooper LIVE for a free virtual Shop Talk moderated by Jason August, chair of the Education Working Group of the NAHB Global Opportunities Board and senior vice president of North Star Synergies, Inc.
NAHB’s Global Innovation Awards are accepting applications until Oct.7.