Habitation & Habitat
A Strategy for Mediating Between Habitation and Habitat
The proposal endeavors to develop strategies that can be integrated in a sensitive fashion to the specific qualities of the site. The presentation of strategies is a unique position because the form of the building is not fixed, in fact it is expected to evolve as strategies are implemented in response to the site and the craft of those laboring on its construction. The form of the building shown here serves to illustrate how these strategies could take resolve in a comprehensive and contextual manner. There is substantial room for feedback in this mentality. A core tenant of my design/build philosophy is maintaining this sensitivity throughout the process.
While this proposal is not 'fixed, there are two fundamental strategies presented herein that operate as the guiding principals to help mediate between habitat and habitation.
The first is the development of details that elevate the building above the ground, minimizing exposure to humidity, avoiding interruption of groundwater flow, and developing reasonable methods to maintenance this structure as the foundation (natural, non-treated materials) ages. In addition to being nontoxic, avoiding materials like concrete requires minimal vehicular access.
The second fundamental strategy was developed with reference to the building envelope, to balance the efficiency of a closed system mentality that is prevalent within contemporary sustainable dialogue with the effectiveness of an open system mentality that builds upon ancient methods of mediating between dwelling and the natural world. At its most basic level, this strategy can be seen as a building that is entirely enclosed on five sides and dynamically open to the south.
This design proposes an integrated approach to the foundation and primary structure that builds on the skills of CFI and both procuring responsibly harvested materials and self-purported familiarity with timber frame construction. The proposal addresses regional moisture concerns by using posts to elevate floor and roof beams above the ground. The posts, which are set directly into the ground, reference traditional Japanese construction by splicing a sacrificial footing to the lower portion of the post. The life of the underground wood is prolonged by excellent drainage and the use of naturally rot resistant wood. The strategy is to control moisture, not rely entirely on technology. This strategy is a specific response to the soil type information offered. The splice also allows for the easy replacement of the footing in the future.
The above ground timber structure is designed to deal primarily with loads. Racking is prevented by securing siding tightly to the timber farme. The ceiling and floor are sided with tongue and grove decking to create a diaphragm and negate the need to joists. Walls can be clad with decking on the diagonal or with plywood depending on budget. Both decking and plywood serve to prevent racking. (timber spacing is measured to receive standard plywood sheets).
Ideally, milled timber would be sourced for this to facilitate ease of construction, however, round wood construction is also possible to conserve money. Laminating nominal lumber together create jack posts and beams is also an option.
Overall, this desire is to create a light, honest connection to the ground that celebrates craftsmanship and controls exposure to moisture.
It was outlined that the envelope of this design was conceived to encapsulate the majority of the form, creating an efficient seal between inside and outside. This profile uses the efficiency of modern insulation to return radiant heat from the sun and woodstove as well as minimize conductive and convective heat loss.
This closed system mentality however is not perfect. It tends to fundamentally isolate individuals from the outside world and depends upon technology (such as Heat Recovery Units) to maintain quality. I believe that this mentality encourages an apathetic appreciation of life. It turns solutions into remedies. It relegates wood to supplementing inherent heating deficiencies or presumes that the sun is out whenever it is day.
This is not to say that closed systems are inherently bad. In fact, when a closed system is used in concert with an open system we get a real and tangible magic. It is with this in mind that the design opens substantially towards the south. This achieves four things:
- It allows for incredible ventilation in the summer
- It allows for immediate solar gains (not banked in a thermal mass, but rather collected to warm the air through a consolair system).
- It provides the ultimate benefit; an expansive human experience of the landscape; an open encounter with the world.
- Finally, through the use of canvas (translucent) and felted wool curtains it can be incrementally closed off to complement the activity and demands of the space.
Ultimately, the user is a steward to the mediation between outside and inside; open and closed. The tasks such as tending fires, opening windows or operating curtains are designed to be fulfilling, to mark the fluctuations of the day, the seasons and weather. Through this, the building is free to resonate with life and liveliness.
This is an active form of inhabitation that is suited to and indeed celebrates the fluctuations of this climate.
In The Details
Relegating open and closed strategies to different sections of the building has the additional benefit of making the construction process easier. Both wall types consist of a limited number of details, each of which address their specific role within the system. So for instance, avoiding gestures even as typical as putting windows in a wall (an opening in a closed system) saves substantially on labor, the modification of the structure, substantial flashing details, trims, and overall material waste/cost.
Saving energy in the construction of prescribed details allows volunteers to invest their energy in creative ways, for instance taking ownership in the placement of windows on the curtain wall to the south. The structure of the curtain wall is particularly interesting because it is designed to let reclaimed windows mount irrespective of their size. Additionally, the cavity created by this structure allows for a cansolair system that converts radiant solar energy to heating air; a detail that allows room for embellishment. In short, the wall to the south is not only incrementally open to nature but to creativity and human impetus.
Overall, the most important facet to situating details with respect to fundamental strategies and then giving ownership over to participants is that the participants can explore the idea and concept of the building on their own terms. Everyone is a well of wisdom and a building should be a constructive venue for expression and learning.
(Texte du concurrent)
6 scanned / 5 viewable
- Digital Model
- Digital Model