OPEN House

OPEN House

Architect
OPEN house
Location
Old Westbury, United States
Project Year
2006
Category
Housing

OPEN House

OPEN house as Architects

OPEN House, NYIT’s entry in to the 2007 Solar Decathlon, delivers the message of sustainable living through the design of a house that is adaptable, smart, and incorporates intelligent technology and creative engineering. It is the collective thought of the team that time is of the essence and we must share knowledge to survive. Thus, OPEN House is open access and open source so that many can contribute to its making and through feedback it can evolve; this house is an open and evolving experiment in a sustainable lifestyle.


OPEN House is a place where people concerned for their environment would live and enjoy a life enhanced through interconnectedness with the natural world and with other like-minded people. The extreme transparency of an open network leads to care and responsibility for the world around us. The OPEN House lifestyle encourages people to live in a sustainable, healthier way, more in tune with the ecosystems that sustain us without sacrificing the daily comforts we enjoy.


There are two parts to OPEN House: a manifold, or core, that contains kitchen, bathroom and environmental systems; and a large, open space that encourages diverse living scenarios. The house as a whole is open, adaptable and customizable. Its flexibility enables a range of lifestyles from starter home to vacation house. The prototype built for the Solar Decathlon competition is just one iteration of a myriad of design typologies that can be created with user input which connects with our philosophy of open source design.


The living space is open to interpretation. Services are distributed throughout to create flexible zones to accommodate a multiplicity of functions. Flexible furnishings create floating micro-environments for inhabitants. The house sits lightly on the ground on a raised, permeable platform. Mounted on the roof of the living space are photovoltaic cells and evacuated tubes which harness electrical and thermal energy from the sun.


Water facilitates open exchange between house and environment. On the roof of the core is a pool of water that simulates a geothermal well by storing or dissipating heat generated by OPEN House. A waterfall off the west side of the core allows water to cool and be recycled back to the roof pond allowing inhabitants to experience the poetic engineering of the home in its environment.


The electrical grid opens the house to other power sources. Inverters and controllers in the core transform solar power into electricity to be stored in batteries outside the house for the competition. When OPEN House is sited permanently, it will interact directly with the electric power grid, making batteries unnecessary.


OPEN House is smart. It detects temperature, humidity, power usage and water deployment. It communicates these through the internet and computer technology, creating a dynamic, informational feedback loop between OPEN House and its inhabitants.


OPEN House implicitly addresses a new generation who believe in the power of local energy production, intelligent technology and community to ensure secure and healthy lives for all human beings. Spaces in the home can be reinterpreted by its inhabitants, creating a flexible, educational realm where people can visualize OPEN House as a unique ecosystem coexisting within the larger ecosystem of our earth. The system of OPEN House allows for design permutations encouraging life to be lived experimentally, creatively and responsibly. We hope that the interrelationships of habitat, humans and ecology will become a new basis for human community.

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