University of Southern California Computer Animated Walk-through – SD2013

University of Southern California Computer Animated Walk-through – SD2013

October 24, 2019 2 By Stanley Isaacs


fluxHome™ is an innovative and affordable
model for sustainable living, incorporating mass customized elements with digital fabrication
and smart home technology to create an energy-efficient prototype for the 21st century. Drawing upon regional precedents such as the
courtyard or patio house and craftsman bungalow, fluxHome™ is a spatial hybrid that echoes
the diverse social, cultural and environmental Southern California landscape. The design begins with a simple rectilinear
envelope measuring 32 by 34 feet. Horizontal and vertical volumes tunnel through
the house on the north and south side as well as from above, creating horizontal and vertical
courtyards that literally connect the house with the landscape by capturing the horizon
and sky while, on the perimeter smaller volumes are extracted to create porches and verandas. One of the first things that is apparent when
you approach fluxHome™ is the customized exterior skin. Consisting of pre-fabricated
laser cut metal panels placed over a rain screen facade, the perforations regulate the
amount of thermal gain and facilitate airflow between the exterior membranes for cooling,
as well as offer privacy and lend the house its unique identity. PAUSE Moving around the house we see how the façade
changes in response to the orientation and solar exposure. Apertures are strategically
placed to channel prevailing breezes into and through the house, providing cross ventilation
while larger openings on the north, south and east side are “thickened” to function
as porches and verandas and to OPEN the house up to the outdoors at various times of day. As we ascend the south ramp, the interior
of the house begins to come into view giving us glimpses of the vibrant interior courtyard
and solar chimney. Entering through the south porch our gaze is simultaneously drawn in
several directions: To the right we see a galley kitchen and island open to the living
and entertainment area; beyond is a semi-enclosed east-facing porch for the family to enjoy
breakfast with the rising sun. To the left of the light and air well we see a state of
the art entertainment and home control center. Panning back toward the center is a courtyard
that is easily transformed to accommodate various activities such as dining and entertaining. Immediately above the courtyard is a solar
chimney that simultaneously works as a lens for daylight and viewing the night sky and
vent for exhausting warm air; operable louvers modulate the amount of sunlight that enter
the house and are easily controlled by the occupants. On the right side is a bedroom for two young
children. Instead of conventional rooms that divide the spaces, large sliding doors open
“private” zones to the more public parts of the home, creating a sense of openness
and community. Passing through a set of sliding translucent
doors we enter a flexible, multi-use space that connects the master bedroom and bathroom.
The bathroom is another unique feature of the home consisting of several zones that
can be used by family members at the same time. An oversized shower and soaking tub have a
retractable ceiling skylight to bring the outdoors inside. PAUSE Approaching the north end of the house, we
exit through a set of transparent sliding doors and enter a sleeping porch with a “vertical
lawn” or green wall. Descending down the ramp and circling back
over the house we see the solar array and the apertures for the solar chimney and open
air shower, giving us a clear view of the way that the fluxHome™ integrates passive
AND active principles to achieve a net zero solar energy balance. The USC fluxHome™ celebrates the idea of
change (that is such a characteristic aspect of contemporary experience) with a strategy
of openness and flexible efficiency, as a viable and sustainable alternative to the
suburban tract house.