[Image: The Glidehouse by Michelle Kaufmann].
Architects Michael McDonough and Michelle Kaufmann are now on stage here at Dwell on Design.
Their topic is “Well-behaved Homes.”
Michael, in full performance mode, explains that building houses using conductive materials (metal, for instance, which is also used to make pots and pans) instead of using insulating materials (he specifically refers to aerated autoclave concrete, used in the majority of European houses) is inherently problematic from the standpoint of energy efficiency and climate control.
He talks about the importance of mechanical engineers in coming to understand the movement of air through enclosed architectural structures.
McDonough’s firm is now developing what he calls the eHouse, a kind of domestic research station in New York state through which they can test out the use of more energy-efficient – and climate-appropriate – building materials.
[Images: Michelle Kaufmann’s mkLotus house].
Michelle Kaufmann, meanwhile, still speaking as I type this, is introducing everyone to green roofs, rainwater catchment, passive/active solar energy systems, and the relatively streamlined construction process involved in assembling one of her projects. She even, briefly, touched on issues of affordability (or the lack thereof).
She just finished up, in fact.
Anyway, I can’t help but wonder, referring to the title of this panel, what a non-well-behaved home might be.
In fact, one of the respondents literally just mentioned this, in a passing reference to the possibility of “outlaw homes,” which she describes as homes whose owners tear up the front yard to plant vegetable gardens.
But is that not just another way of being well-behaved? Eating right, being a good neighbor?
What if you installed a shake table in your front yard?
Is there a modernism for bad neighbors?
(Note: I’ll be live-blogging the Dwell on Design conference this weekend; expect more posts soon – and bad editing or typos might have to stay up for now. Please excuse any such editorial lapses…)