Traditionally, architecture has always applied to core structures with defined functions. However, a team of students at USC believes otherwise, as they have went on to design the fluxHome, an affordable house with flexible usages and adaptability. Built from prefabricated components, the modular house can assembled pretty easily, while also allowing the user to modify elements (both spatial and amenities) to suit their lifestyle and comfort. All of these are done through some ingenious architectural techniques and a few crucial sustainable features.
Currently being constructed on the South Lawn at USC, the fluxHome is inspired by different architectural elements including – craftsman bungalow and patio house, along with contemporary designs like smart homes. The end result is an open planned house with walls and roofs that can be converted into new arrangements, thus endowing the user with loads of customization options on controlling sunlight, ventilation and even circulation pattern. For example, the user can shift the interior walls to make room for a bigger social gathering, or the user can regulate energy systems for the admission of air and natural light.
In that regard, the fluxHome is furnished with an advanced, thermally-responsive PerfSkin envelope that is responsible for functions like modulating and inducting light, shade, air flow and the maintenance of interior micro-climate along with privacy. It is complemented by system of air and light chimneys that optimize habitation-oriented factors like natural light, passive cooling and ventilation.
The fluxHome is notched up on the technology level with the integration of a smart system that monitors built-in energy systems, while being accessible via an iPad or smart phone. The technology is also expanded on the green side of affairs, with the utilization of solar panels that generate low-carbon electricity (as the site receives more than 300 days /per year of sunshine).
So, at the end of the day, it is all about the flexibility of usage fused with some advanced features. As the designers have put it in a nutshell –
Instead of a hermetic box on a suburban lot, the house is a thermally-responsive envelope that easily opens and closes according to the weather and time of day, modulating sunlight and air providing various degrees of shade and privacy.
The fluxHome is an entry for the 2013 Solar Decathlon.
All images are courtesy of USC.