- Designing Recovery Competition
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- updated: 09/19/2013
Newly imposed regulations due to the severe weather and flooding incidents brought on by climate change are requiring single family housing to be built to elevations of a story or more above grade. The fundamental architectural challenge in the design of any house raised high off of the ground is the house’s relationship to the ground. What is the nature of the space below the house? How is entry handled? How does the private activity of the interior connect to the public/private activity at the street level, in the yard and under the house? The typical approaches to this situation seek to address these concerns by super-sizing traditional forms of porches and entry stairs and by placing the parking and other incidental functions in the “no-man’s zone” below the structure. An additional problem is that of universal accessibility. Simply put: How can we make these kinds of structures accessible to the physically handicapped and retain the scale and interaction that makes for a good community life? Furthermore, how can the the design of the house put the additional costs of raising the house to use in addressing sustainability and affordability?
In our concept, the answer is to raise the ground plane with a man-made berm that integrates with the design of the building to provide accessibility, sustainable infrastructure, and structural support while creating dynamic public-private spaces at a residential scale. Together, structure and landscape form the place for living.
The BUILDING is simply constructed of prefabricated SIPS walls and roof, and durable steel and concrete structure. The BERM is a series of low terraces, affordably built of landscaping timbers by volunteer labor. The BERM integrates sustainable systems that serve the mechanical needs of the house, acts to mitigate wave force on the BUILDING and the neighborhood during flood events, and provides ample pervious and planted areas.