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Homes of a Different Shape
Earlier in this issue, when asked to describe their visions for the home of the future, a panel of experts predicted that a new home built in 2027 will be more flexible, automated and energy efficient, as well as healthier and smaller than today's homes. But for the most part, the experts noted, most homes of the future won't actually look that much different than today's homes.
No doubt they're right. But that hasn't kept at least a few forward-thinking designers, both American and European, from taking an untraditional, more organic - and decidedly futuristic - approach to home design.
Los Angeles-based designer and artist Michael Jantzen, for instance, gives his architectural creations a distinctive experimental edge. One of his conceptual residential designs, called Home-Scape, is comprised of a number of rounded, sloped and arching modular units that, when joined together, form a "pleasing organic aesthetic," as Jantzen describes it.
The individual units for this new type of modular housing system would be constructed in a manufacturing facility, just like mobile homes, and trucked to a site, where they would be bolted together to create finished structures of varying sizes and designs. Walls, floors and roofs could be made from structural foam panels, which would make the finished buildings strong and energy efficient. Cladding could be changed periodically to alter the color and texture of each structure.
Another of Jantzen's designs is the Wind Shaped Pavilion, a large, lightweight fabric structure with six segments built vertically around an open central support frame. As the wind blows against the structure, it would move each segment individually, constantly changing the shape and look of the pavilion while at the same time generating electricity, much as a windmill does.
Developers of a European urban housing project, called H2PIA, also envision the use of alternative energy - in this case, hydrogen - for residential power and heat. Dubbed "the world's first hydrogen city," H2PIA was announced last year by a Danish company. The self-sufficient and sustainable community would include futuristic single-family homes as well as communal residences, all powered by hydrogen (derived from splitting water molecules), as well as solar and wind energy. Could these homes be the shape of things to come? Only time will tell.
For more information: http://www.humanshelter.org and http://www.h2pia.com .