'M-house' by Michael Jantzen
Sustainable architecture, prefabricated housing, CO2- neutral living – all of these are not ideas from the last couple of years, even though the current media attention could create this impression.
The US of the 1960s – admittedly also due to the rising oil prices – was a hub for forward-looking and alternative architecture. Richard Buckminster Fuller, one could call him the guru of ecological thinking at that time, set new standards with inventions such as the geodetic dome – a masterpiece regarding the relationship between material use and constructive strength.
The Los Angeles-based Michael Jantzen, who met Buckminster Fuller as a student in the 1970s, is one of the few of that generation of architects who have stuck to the idea of revolutionising the traditional way of building and offering new architectural solutions in line with the flexible and impermanent life style we practiced long ago.
Inside the 'M-house' by Michael Jantzen
The M-house is one of Michael’s most expressive architectural works. Here is how he describes it:
“The M-house consists of a series of rectangular panels that are attached with hinges to an open space frame grid of seven interlocking cubes.The panels are hinged to the cubes in either a horizontal or a vertical orientation. The hinges allow the panels to fold into or out of the cube frames to perform various functions.
Some of the panels are insulated and contain windows and doors. These panels can completely enclose spaces that are heated and cooled. Other uninsulated panels fold in or out, over and around, open platforms to shade the sun, deflect the rain, or block the wind. Some of the panels unfold from the face of the cubes to become places to sit, places to sleep, places to work, or places to eat. Most of the slotted panels are oriented over and around these open platforms.
The platforms and the cube frames, are supported by adjustable legs which are attached to load bearing foot pads. In many cases the support frames do not require a foundation, and they can be adjusted to accommodate terrain variations.”
'M2-house' by Michael Jantzen
All of the M-house components are interchangeable and can be increased or decreased in numbers and size. The panels can be made in a curved configuration and from many different types of materials.
The existing M-house panels are assembled with a steel structural frame which supports thin sheets of a concrete composite. All of the exposed surfaces of the structure are painted.
The M-house was designed to function as a single private vacation retreat, or in multiple numbers and configurations, as a complete stand-alone, high-tech resort complex. The house can be designed to be self sufficient, powered by alternative energy sources such as the sun and the wind.
The M-vironments were developed to accommodate a wide range of markets. With different sizes, shapes, materials, and panel types, the system can be used for exhibit structures, pavilions, play environments for kids, retail spaces, office modules, and many other commercial applications.
Here an example of Michael Jantzen older works:
'Super Insulated Dome Cluster House' by Michael Jantzen, 1981
Inside the 'Super Insulated Dome Cluster House', 1981
to the Michael Jantzen website
The new 'Camelback House' for the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans
In April this year six houses have been finished as part of the Make It Right Program in the Lower 9th Ward in New Orleans, a district which has been almost completely distroyed by hurricane Katrina in autumn 2005. Another nine houses are still under construction. The architects of Graft designed two of the fifteen houses – prefabricated units which reveived the LEED platinum certification. Sustainable construction is one of the most important parameters of the initiative.
As most of the projects Graft´s designs also merge traditional and modern architecture without losing the typical handwriting of the Berlin and L.A. based architects. The fast and dynamic shapes of the ‚Shotgun House’ for example builds a contrast to the rather tradtional wooden façade and the typical southern front porch.
The second design, which Graft presented recently, is the ‚Camelback House’ a duplex house which is rather expressive than the first round houses.
Here an explanation of the architects:
After the success of the first round of designs for the Lower Ninth Ward a new group of architects was invited to design dwellings. GRAFT donated another design, this time with a larger building for up to two families. The Round 2 house deploys a similar formal strategy of blending as does GRAFT’s Round 1 shotgun house. A strong visual connection to the Round 1 house was maintained in order to bring consistency of character to the New Orleans’ Lower Ninth Ward, which will continue to be populated by these types of dwellings. Here, we have additionally drawn inspiration from the camelback shotgun typology. Historically, camelbacks emerged as a way for residents to add a partial second story to a residence, whether simply to gain more space for a single-family home or to add a rental unit at the rear of a structure. In our design, we utilize the camelback strategy to stack a second efficiency unit above a first floor shotgun house.
The first design by Graft: 'Shotgun House', Photo: Virginia Miller
Residents may enter the house from the side porch landing, leading them into a large open space, containing living, dining and kitchen functions. The lower unit has a flexible three bedroom layout that can be converted into a two bedroom and office layout if desired. The master suite at the rear of the house contains an en-suite bathroom that shares a common wet wall with the unit’s other bathroom and kitchen making a cost-efficient plumbing core.
An exterior stair carries the inhabitants of the efficiency unit up to a rooftop terrace entry deck. This secondary deck level may be utilized as a private deck for the upper dwelling. It provides a generous outdoor living space, views of the neighborhood, space for a small vegetable or herb garden, and easy access to the solar panel array for maintenance. The upper unit itself is designed to be a simple one bedroom dwelling with a living room and dining area facing the backyard. Here the efficiency kitchen shares a wall with the bath to form a cost-efficient plumbing core. The kitchen forms an ‘L’ at the perimeter of the living and dining area in order to create an open and inviting space.
The prefabricated houses received the LEED Platinum certification, Photo: Virginia Miller
Graft Design Team: Lars Krückeberg, Wolfram Putz, Thomas Willemeit, Alejandra Lillo
Project Manager: Robert DeCosmo
Team: Marcus Friesl, Brian D. Nelson, Alyse Sedlock, Tim Sola, Atsushi Sugiuchi, Kris Conner, Seyavash Zohoori
read about the Pink Project by Graft
to the Graft website