Isn’t the Wizard of Oz a clear example of the awesome forcethat a tornado can muster? How can Jaws drive people out of the ocean screamingwhen a house blown through the sky brings back nostalgic memories? Please stayout of the water… but feel free to build your home below flood level and out ofcards in the wind. There is an urgent need to shift from an outmoded logic,ignorant of the forces of nature, to a point where the unabashed rush forprofit and development can be balanced against the basic goal of providingshelter. Humanity is inexplicably driven to build in places where it shouldnot-accepting the unavoidability of this folly is the first step to breathingin a new vision. We sought a way of turning the seemingly destructive acts ofnature into creative blooms.
Kinetic architecture is the innovation which we believe willform the foundation for the habitation of the future. This type of architecturelearns from technological innovation and amps up its incorporation into thehome, custom tailoring existing mechanisms in new ways. The revised conceptionof the home finds itself somewhere between garage doors, flowers, and thesurvival mentality of a turtle. A series of simple hydraulic levers are used topush the home in and out of the ground and deflect and warp the outer skin inresponse to external stimulation. The key activators of this motion being thehigh velocity winds associated with thunderstorms and tornadoes. A series ofsolar cells on the outer skin rotate and flex to attain maximum solar intensity.A translucent outer skin consisting of clear insulation sandwiched between twolayers of Kevlar provides the weather barrier and lets diffuse light into thestructure. We are also exploring the application of photocatalytic coatings andcarbon nanotubes on the skin to absorb and clean pollution turning it directlyinto fuel for the home to power the hydraulics.
A water tight seal locks the roof of the collapsed homemaking the structure water and wind proof. There have been a series of studiessince the mid 90’s showing homes that float up and out of harm’s way. Thissolution does not anticipate the velocity of the water, and more importantly thegrinding power of the debris contained in the water. The safest place is down.
Neighborhoods will become interwoven and connected togetherthrough sensor networks that interpret weather data. After warning sirensentire suburbs can be collapsed in seconds. The whole neighborhood will behaveas an organism fit for a collective response to the challenges brought by thenatural environment. The image of technology as a fire breathing train slicinga trail of black smoke through the innocent forest painted by Hawthorne isslowly replaced by a desire to respond to nature and not seek to dominate it.The tornadoes and storms can burn and blow with all their fury while the suburbsafely sleeps.
Can we spin this violent ever present soup into astabilizing direction? We seek a new mobility for the home that is controllednot left to “chance” (there is nothing accidental about 100 year old weatherpatterns). We are currently working on the development of a prototype with agroup of ship builders in the US and Africa.
Design Team: Ted Givens, Trey Tyler, Mohamad Ghamlouch,Shane Dale, Dougald Fountain