'Redirecting existing    technologies for increase in performance in building systems and methods'

Technology Transfer
Skin Strategies For Houses
We are constantly identifying research that has both commercial and strategic value.  Here, we look into two otherwise unrelated fields, radial tires, and warehouse structures.  We then consider them as outperforming systems that can be exploited under alternative cases such as a single family living environment.

Radial House

AWARDED: Citation For Technology, Boston Society of Architects

AWARDED: Mention, Living Box Competition, Rome

Depending on your latitude, it could be argued that the built environment is moving over 1000mph with the Earth's rotation.  Though the structures we inhabit are relatively still, they are a part of this motion.  Yet, these structures do not actively adapt to regional weather extremes like snow, heat, and rain which stress these structures and sites.  More importantly the presence of the built environment changes the ecology of the site when it is compounded with the effect of storm run-off, snow drifts, and even floods that put a given site motion. 

We look to the technology of tires to cross pollinate new criteria for how we envision the needs for intelligently structured surfaces that might contain a variety of living environments. Racing tires for instance, are designed for a variety of criteria. 

Tread patterns, wall structures, and rubber compounds act together to expel water to offer optimal traction within a speed, heat, and given surface standard.

This lead us to further investigate how surface patterning could direct water flow.  Later investigations created solutions for patterning to have a relationship to the volume delivered to a zone of the site.  In other words it would regulate or manage the speed of flow.  What could this mean for materials and assemblies?  Would the subtleties of these systems vary from region to region?  How might the overall volume be reshaped for optimal air movement around the site, and with the living environment?  What would these strategies mean for a single unit or a dense cluster?

(SHELL)ter For Home

AWARDED: Honor Award, AIA DC Unbuilt Awards

EXHIBIT: National Building Museum, 2010 

Continuing our interest in structured surfaces, we shift our focus toward finding new uses within existing systems.  Specifically, the prefabricated ribs of a 'quonset hut'.  To answer the design problem of a house for a family of four under 100K dollars, we found economy at the intersection of performance by choosing a material that was naturally a structural shape.  We reached outside of traditional architectural means and streamlined the budget and assembly by minimizing the mix of trades.  Therefore, more principle was applied to product then time.

We expanded upon the use of the prefabricated ribs as simply as outer structure to also produce an inner liner that created cavities for insulation, and raceways for electrical and plumbing lines.  Layering an outer and inner system offered a clear vaulted space for living, that provided the utility to access these otherwise walled up zones.

At the core of our work is a pursuit to drive a variety of potential use scenarios.  These otherwise 'houses' are simply a display of these systems that are designed to carry an expanded function of ecological, structural, and spatial longevity.



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