Contributing Monkie G Living Staff Monkies
Published on June 9, 2008
I’m not sure what this thing looks like most, but I know what it looks like least – a home. (It actually it looks a bit like the first moon-lander). Nor am I sure why attaching the prefix “eco” to “home” makes architects think off-kilter square boxes, funny angles and gravity-defying cantilevers. Let’s face it: there are lots of ways to make your home “eco” without dispensing with traditional comforts that we associate with home, like having enough space for a comfortable couch.
Michael Jantzen is one of these architects who uses modern art to stimulate his thinking about personal space – and it’s not all bad. I’m just not sold on the idea that this kind of design saves more energy and is more sustainable than thinking smartly about the way we use energy in and around our conventional homes. Typical “square” homes can take advantage of thermal mass, sun position, and the latest materials. So, the only real advantage I see with the M2 is that it can be set up in a jiffy and moved rather easily.
Unless you take into consideration the fact that house is built around a foam insulated panel system that allows for more flexibility in terms of heating and cooling options. And the fact that these panels can be adjusted to create various space arrangements for sitting or sleeping. And okay, some other panels can be moved to better capture sun and wind (or block, if need be), which comes in handy when you add photovoltaics for power.
Looking at the pictures of the M2 I’m reminded of a conversation I once had with a NASCAR fan. He insisted that many of the modern fuel-saving devices on standard cars would not have been possible without the advances brought by driving fast in circles for a few hours. I didn’t really believe that advances relied solely on the South’s most popular “sport”, but racing has brought some important refinements to car life. Likewise, there are advances in thinking with the M2 that could make home building more efficient as long as the right people pay attention.
If you enjoy the chic, new-age idea of homes, Jantzen has created something that is worth a look. As for me, just give me a good couch-space and I’ll figure