Fast Company

Four Architecural Visions of the Green House of the Future

The Wall Street Journal recently challenged architects to design a green house of the future. This morning, the paper unloaded the designs, that come from four firms: William McDonough, Rios Clemente Hale, Cook + Fox and Mouzon Design. Here they are:

McDonough is a controversial figure, but he's never been short on ideas. His proposal was the most far-out. The exterior solves the problem of ugly photovoltaics, which are typically plastered onto the roof of a building. Instead, the firm proposed a layer of photovoltaics woven into the exterior cladding, which would heat water and generate electricity. Additionally, a skin made of self-healing materials would fight wear and tear; the concrete would absorb carbon dioxide as it cures; and a heat-pump would use air cooled and heated naturally underground to regulate interior temperatures:

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Cook + Fox proposed a "Reptile House" that would turn dark in bright sun to insulate the house and turn clear on cloudy days to maximize light and heat absorption. The firm has a knack for realizing far-out ideas: Its One Bryant Park is New York's greenest skyscraper; during the night when electricity is cheap, it creates ice blocks that melt during the day, cooling the building when electricity prices spike:

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Rios Clementi Hale's Incredible Edible House turns the building's walls into a garden, so that before each meal you can harvest the ingredients--including chickpeas, tomatoes, arugula, and green tea. The rooftop has water reservoirs and windmills, while the house itself is made of prefabbed shipping containers that can easily be picked up and moved:

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Mouzon Design pursued a similar idea. The firm created "melon cradles" so that heavy plants and vegetables could grow vertically. They also resuscitated the ancient idea of a breeze chimney, which creates a pressure differential between the hot air inside and the cooler air inside. That differential cause the chimney shunt hot air, while drawing a constant breeze into the house interior:

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Related: Green Guru Gone Wrong: William McDonough
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Related: What Might a Green Shopping Mall Look Like?

[Via The Wall Street Journal]

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