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SOLAR LIVING HOUSE 01

 
  • Thoughtful
  • Affordable
  • Sustainable
  • Livable

Design Approach

“Because most opinion, both profound and light-headed, in terms of post war housing is nothing but speculation in the form of talk and reams of paper, it occurs to us that it might be a good idea to get down to cases and at least make a beginning in the gathering of that mass of material that must eventually result in what we know as ‘house – post war.’” [1]   John Entenza opened his editorial to the January 1945 issue of Art and Architecture with the preceding statement, setting in motion one of the most recognized experiments in housing during the modern era, namely the Case Study House program. This experiment resonates for many reasons, but chief among them is how the ideas of the house were questioned at a fundamental level, setting in motion a series of spatial and constructional speculations that aspired to keep pace with an evolving, modern American culture. By embracing the cultural shifts already underway, these houses reframed long-standing attitudes about domestic life, fusing new ways of living with the potentials offered in new materials, innovative construction systems and spatial sensibilities, resulting in a vision of the house far departed from its aging predecessors.

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Pierre Koenig, Case Study House #21, Front Elevation, 1958

http://relationalthought.wordpress.com/2012/05/05/1022/

  It is fair to ask whether the recent mortgage crisis might also offer a similar pivotal moment to reconsider the house. The aspirations of the Case Study houses were never fully met and the seventy years of housing models that followed have yielded a confused combination of nostalgia and excess. Our goal with this project is not to critique the current housing stock, but rather to offer an alternative approach that reappraises the larger vision of an early time that focused on an efficient and affordable home. As Entenza so eloquently penned, “It is important that the best materials available be used in the best possible way in order to arrive at a “good” solution of each problem, which in the over-all program will be general enough to be of practical assistance to the average American in search of a home in which he can afford to live.” [2] In prefacing our conceptual design this way, we want to assure that we are looking back in order to look forward, synthesizing the clean lines, efficient spaces and material palettes of the Case Study program with the efficacy of new envelope strategies, energy-productive systems, and fabrication methods. Our goal is to provide a prototype for an elegant and disciplined house that expresses its construction in an honest and direct manner; a house that basks in the sun and harnesses the full extent of the energy it affords; a house cast from modular uniformity that also celebrates the potentials of variants; a house that reflects the poetic delight of a bygone era, updated and transformed through the technological prowess of our time. We will offer a house that is at once new, yet familiar, reviving the spirit of the Case Study houses by following their lead.

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[1] Entenza, John. “The Case Study House Program.” Arts & Architecture. 01 1945: 37. Print.

[2] Ibid. 39. Print.

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Schematic Design 100%
Design Development 80%
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The Unfold House