Prefab 20-20

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infoPivot house embraces an approach to to high-density, spatially optimized domestic dwelling that engages a dynamic architecture capable of being reconfigured by the inhabitants. The spatial constraints of a minimal, 400 square foot footprint are expanded by allowing reconfiguration of the space in multiple ways. Adjacent outdoor space can be captured and integrated within the spatial envelope of the dwelling, and multiple spatial configurations can be programmed by the inhabitants based on external conditions such as weather, number of inhabitants, events, programmatic innovation and their own desires to experiment. What is lacking by some definitions in living area is thus compensated and even exceeded in terms of spatial novelty and richness of variety of spatial and programmatic variation.

Pivot house operates by rotation. The building consists of three stacked volumes, the top two of which can rotate their position around a central mast or “trunk”. The central mast’s rotation is enabled through a modified crane motor which is recessed into the ground floor module and can be easily accessed. Sensors halt the rotational action of the building if any object is encountered within the rotational path. Through the design of the building, the stairways which allow access to the loft floor and roof deck in the “home” position (when all modules are in position one directly on top of the other) continue to allow vertical access between the modules in all but one configuration, where the roof deck is not accessible. A drop seal detail at the bottom edge of the top two modules ensures that the building envelope is water and air proof when in the “home” position. Guardrails that become necessary at the upper levels when the modules are rotated are deployed through a hinged panel system, where the guards are simply lifted from the horizontal position (where they are recessed into the floor) to the vertical position, where they lock into place. Accessory components, such as curtains, tent structures and awnings can be applied to the modular arrangements of the modules to capture outdoor space and integrate it into part of the interior, to provide further spatial possibilities, and to provide weather protection. These accessories are similar in principle those available for camping and recreational vehicles. Areas of the building can also be left open to the elements. Heating is provided through an in-floor radiant hydronic system. Building power is augmented by a grid-tie photovoltaic system on the roof (the roof module may rotate with the sun’s path to optimize power harvesting).

The Pivot house is factory-fabricated in seven modules (two for each floor module and one for the rotational mast) which are delivered to site and assembled by truck-mounted crane. The top two, rotating modules consist of insulated wood panels and metal roofing cladding steel moment frames. The ground floor module consists of insulated wood panels infilling a steel frame on a lightweight concrete slab and footing. The rotational mast or “trunk” has it’s own concrete foundation which is cast in place on site. Windows and doors are triple-glazed units in aluminum frames.

competition / Vancouver / 2009

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