Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on October 1, 2008
If yurts intrigue you but you’re not ready to be a canvass dweller, the Wall home by Chilean-based FAR architects might be for you. The design is based on the idea that homes should not draw such distinct lines between inside and outside; instead there should be a gentle transition. To create this transition, the house is built in layers — four layers to be exact.
Pretty cool idea, huh? Here’s how it works…
The first layer forms the core. Made from concrete, the “Cave” is home to two bathrooms, which are covered completely in ceramic tiles. The second layer is made from engineered wood and plywood, forming stacked shelves that surround the home’s traditional rooms. The third layer is a translucent shell made from high-strength plastic panels that let in plenty of light and wrap the house in sunshine. The layer four is made of fabric that both filters solar energy and keeps out nasty flying pests.
What’s so great about it? The mixture of building materials and the layered approach make the house rather efficient by nature, like layering clothes when going outside in the winter. The copious use of clear and translucent materials allow for plenty of natural lighting, using nature to reduce energy consumption. The design is more organic, too — providing a gentle transition from inside to out and blending the home into the landscape.
Does that make it “G”? I’m not sure. On the affordability scale, the utilitarian design and low-cost materials make it light on the pocketbook, but there are a host of factors that aren’t addressed, like water consumption and renewable energy use. Engineered wood and cement, while moving in the right direction, are not the most sustainable choices for building material.
But here’s what I want to know: why do new designs rely so much on minimalism in order to be responsible? Is there no such thing as responsibility in the ornate, superfluous and excessive? I guess if you have to ask, you SHOULD be living in a cave.