Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Futuristic Architecture - Responsive Architecture

A home that repairs itself?  Futuristic paint that hardens over time? Architecture that senses your need for a warmer room? It could all be happening in the near future if Phillip Beesley of the University of Waterloo has anything to say about it.  Check out the short news video below for what could be in store for us.

The concept of Hylozoic Ground (Architecture that lives and breathes) is interesting considering that we don't live in homes or work in buildings today that 'care' about us.  I don't know how I feel about a building that knows what I need in advance, but I certainly wouldn't mind having a home that repairs itself or creates it's own energy instead of drawing off of other non-renewable resources.

To read more about this interesting concept and Phillip Beesley's vision for the future, check out his book Hylozoic Ground on Amazon:

Futuristic Architecture - Mass Studies

What Is Mass Studies?

I recently came across this video about a company called Mass Studies in Korea, and I wanted to share it with you.  Most of what MinSuk Cho of Mass Studies says is subtitled, so you may have to watch it twice to see what he says and then see his designs.  He says some very interesting things about architecture however and it's an enjoyable video.  One of the things MinSuk Cho says that strikes me is, "The future is our present.  We live a few years earlier than others."  He also says that architecture plays a role in society and I think it's true.  Architects like this are designing better ways for us to live and interact not only with each other, but with our environment.

Mass Studies truly has some amazing designs.  One of the designs featured in the video is Daum  Space, as seen below, but you may also be interested to see a greener design, where foliage actually grows on the walls.

This building in Seoul Korea takes sustainable architecture to a whole new level.  Imagine a future where you live in a home or apartment building where your food grows on the outer walls, and the air is made cleaner by the building in which you live.  Not only is it smart and ascetically pleasing, but it's good for the environment.

If you'd like to see more articles like this, don't forget to share this with your friends and come back frequently for more architecture news, designs, and articles.

If you have a question or comment, leave us a comment below!

Friday, February 1, 2013

Futuristic Architecture - Tiny Homes

There's been a growing trend in the last few years to downsize our living space, a concept that is often hard to grasp for myself and other American's.  As far as cost per square foot goes, it's actually cheaper to build a larger home, so why not have the extra space?  Personally I love having more room in my house, but often the extra room gets filled up with junk I don't need, and my family and I end up living beyond our means (which means charging necessities like gas and groceries to our credit cards each month).

Some reasons that people choose to live in smaller homes are:

1) To live more sustainably.
2) To live within their means (smaller or no house payments, and smaller homes cost less to heat and cool).
3) To live in a home that can travel (many tiny homes are built on a trailer frame).
4) To simplify and de-clutter their lives.
5) To own a home outright without having to make monthly house payments (many of these tiny homes cost only as much as a car, which is between $15-$30 thousand dollars).
6) To own a second smaller home as a vacation home in the woods or other beautiful locales.
7) To be able to splurge on vacations and other luxuries instead of spending your paycheck on house payments.
8) To have a guest home in their back yard for visitors to stay in.
9) To spend more time in nature.  (I recently read an article about a family of 4 who lives in one of these tiny houses and because they have no dining room, they often eat meals together on a patio table on the front porch.  Of course this would be better in locations where it's always warm, even in the winter).

I've been almost obsessed lately with these tiny homes, even to the point of building some of my own on the Sims 3.  I know that I will most likely never be able to afford a home of my own, or a vacation home, so the more I look at these tiny little pieces of architectural marvel, the more appealing they become.  You will of course need a piece of land to put your home on, but in many places an acre of land out in the country or the woods is very reasonable.

There are of course some downsides to consider to these smaller living spaces, such as:

1) Little to no room for guests to stay over (though some people in these houses compensate by building their own furniture like couches that fold out in a small space as an extra bed).
2) Not ideal for large families with many children.
3) Very little room to store that extra junk that we all seem to collect.
4) If your tiny home is on a trailer, I'd worry about someone driving off with it when you're away (there's a possibility that I'm uneducated here about anti-theft devices on trailers, if so let me know in a comment).
5) Everyone will be in very tight quarters (meaning you will have to deal with family issues front and center rather than people moving off into their own space when upset or angry).
6) These houses may not be ideal for those with claustrophobia, or long legs.

If you're wondering what the inside of these small houses look like, take a look at the photos below: 

For the most part they look like our homes today, only with more built in storage and places to hide things away like under the couch or beds.  On one blog I saw that the family had put their dishwasher under the couch.

If you do a Google search you'll find a lot of tiny homes that are left with a rustic cabin interior design, but that doesn't have to be the standard.  I've seen many photos of tiny homes with a modern or contemporary interior design.

Another upside to having a tiny home is that you can build it yourself if you're feeling adventurous.  By taking this route many tiny home owners are able to cut costs and their Eco-footprint by using recycled and reclaimed wood, windows, and other materials.

Every year there are workshops around the country that aim to educate people about tiny home living, as well as teaching them how to build their own homes.
If you're not into building your own tiny home, then you can pay one of the numerous companies across the United States to make one for you.  Some are more expensive than others, but the upside to this is that you know you'll be purchasing a quality home, and you can go and see already made homes before deciding which design you'd like to have built.

In a world where the idea is that bigger is always better, we should strive to remember that people once lived in small homes to start with.  The difference today is that we have architects who are pushing forward into the future with beautiful design and functonality in mind, along with sustainability.  After realizing that we can in fact live in tiny homes, the question becomes, what else can we shrink down to fit a more sustainable and simple lifestyle?  Consider the Office Pod, a tiny-home-esque office space for your backyard or office building.

 I hope this article has given you some insight into this new (or rather old trend) of living in small spaces known as tiny houses.  If you'd like to know more, check out some of the books on the subject below.

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