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Cool Houses: Werner Sobek0

If I happened to be driving along the coast and saw the object in the picture above, I would swear that an alien invasion had begun.  I’d be wrong, of course . . .

Scheduled for construction in 2012 (the same year that the Mayan calendar ends and some people think the aliens will arrive – coincidence?), the R129 Residence  designed by Werner Sobek  of Stuttgart, Germany takes conventional architectural design and throws it out the window.

The building is made of a plastic material built over a frame of carbon box sections.  The foundation (referred to as a “raft”) has different floors—one for heating and one for technical installations and storage.  The latter floor houses the hookups for electricity, water, communications, and (oddly enough) compressed air.

While the interior has no fixed partitions or walls (at least at the time of this writing—the design could change), the home does have a central module that holds the kitchen and sanitary areas.

But the coolest thing about this house involves the application of an electrochromatic foil around the exterior.  Via an electric panel, this “skin” allows complete control over the amount of light allowed in the house.  It can be darkened or made totally opaque—either as a whole or in individual sections.

This method of light control eliminates the need for overhead lighting.  Quite the environmentally conscious development, don’t you think?

It will be interesting to see how the interior of this house develops during its construction in 2012.  What do you think?  How would you design the living spaces of a house like this? 

by John Barker

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