Ecological responsibility and affordability go hand in hand.
Small houses are an increasing trend, to reduce construction costs, land use and energy consumption, and for a simpler way of life with fewer possessions. Senior Lecturer Chris Fersterer used multiple iterations to pare back and simplify a small house design in order to reduce construction complexity and cost.
The cube was chosen because it has a lower surface area in relation to its internal volume than any other rectilinear form. Minimizing the building envelope reduces thermal loss or gain, and also reduces construction materials and building footprint. The parapet roof provides a platform for solar panels while providing some visual separation and protection for these systems. The single valley directs storm water to a rain head collection point, and a downpipe at the corner between the two glass sliding doors follows an expressed ‘V’ and emphasizes this rain harvesting capability.
The concept model has been used by Architectural Studies students to practice working up drawings for construction. It has also been displayed in Finland at a Cumulus conference exhibition of small art objects. Chris hopes to see his design built in the future, to provide an example of affordable construction with low environmental impact.