Friday, August 29, 2008

Outdoor Exhibition of HOME DELIVERY: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling

Post-Hurricane Katrina House
Post-hurricane Katrina House
Cellophane House
Cellophane House
Micro Compact Home
Micro Compact Home
These are photos I made of the five contemporary houses constructed in a lot adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art. The houses form the outdoor section of MoMA's innovative show, "Home Delivery: Fabricating the Modern Dwelling." Selected from submissions from 500 architects and firms, each house demonstrates an aspect of prefabrication made possible by the latest computer and manufacturing techniques.
Kieran Timberlake Architects's Cellophane House is a freestanding, multi-story urban town house with balconies, constructed of a system of off-the-shelf aluminum frames snapped together with steel connectors, slide-in windows, and polyethylene-sheet side walls and flooring. What is not transparent is translucent: radiant blocks of light in a vertical formation, topped by solar connectors.
The house called System3 is designed by Oskar Leo Kaufmann and Albert Ruf as a long, rectangular, single unit incorporating "serving spaces," such as the kitchen and bathroom, which are manufactured separately as modular units and assembled on-site with open, "naked"-space living areas. (The catalog alludes to Louis Kahn's famous "servant" and "served" areas.) It all fits handily into a shipping container for delivery, and includes furniture designed by the architects that gives the living space a quiet elegance. The units can be stacked to accommodate more rooms. Nothing is flimsy here; the thickness of the wooden walls is visible by means of the porthole windows that have been punched through them.
In designing his one-room, post-Hurricane Katrina House for New Orleans, Lawrence Sass devised a system of high-speed, precise laser cutters to shape plywood panels into pieces with grooves and joints that can be hammered into place. This is a new approach to a vernacular form that incorporates all the decorative arabesques and scrolls found on the porch of a typical New Orleans shotgun house.
The smallest house is Richard Horden's Micro Compact Home, a 9-foot cube, it has a timber frame clad in panels of flat, anodized aluminum sheets. The interior, in cool gray PVC and aluminum, serves all of the functions Mr. Horden devised with his students for an active but economical and clutter-free daily life: sleep, hygiene, food preparation, and work. Windows provide ample ventilation and views.

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