the home house project
some time ago i stumbled upon a brilliant book published by the mit press, it’s called the home house project. the book itself is a wonderful compilation/documentation of the competition by the same name put on by the southeastern center for contemporary arts (secca) back in 2003. what makes this project so phenomenal is the premise: to take the basic and modest habitat for humanity house plan and look at it from a sustainable and affordable standpoint. secca received some 400+ entries for this competition, the best of which are documented in the book. projects focused on using good architecture to change the lives of the people who lived there. prefabricated and recycled materials, greywater systems for water catchment and reuse, passive heating/cooling techniques, effective use of daylighting and natural ventilation, and many other energy efficient appliances, systems and strategies were of the central concern in the designs submitted. the problems created by the lack of affordable housing through the united states were well document in both the designs presented and the accompanying essays provided in the book. personally, i was more than impressed that the onus of responsibility was placed squarely on the architect to produce responsible architecture, both in terms of energy efficiency, sustainability, and enjoyable living spaces for those who often cannot afford it. the best part, however, was the acutal implementation of the winning designs in a new habitat for humanity neighborhood in the winston-salem area.
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