A house for all seasons

By Kate Hassett

A house for all seasons
This 'shape shifting' house uses zero energy and transforms with the weather.

Architect Todd Fix has designed the concept for a house that changes shape depending on the weather.

“Motus” is a smart house. Designed with the idea of creating a sustainable, green, zero-energy home, Fix and his team wanted to remove themselves from a the typical ‘Passivhaus’ design, which works off solar energy to prevent energy-loss.

Instead of using materials that would typically assist in keeping energy in the home, ‘Motus’ is surrounded in glass. This glass isn’t your run of the mill window glass though. Depending on the light, the time of day or the temperature, the materials adapt to create a response that works to minimise energy usage.

For example, to adapt to sunlight, the glass will turn on a sun-blocking shade or to adapt to cooler temperatures it will activate an insulating shell.

“It provides this flexible control over heat gain from sunlight,” architect Todd Fix told Fast Company. “So if it’s a cold day, the sensor will sense that, and it will close both to keep the heat inside. If you want more light in the space, you can open up the screen or open up the shell.”

The house is powered by a set of solar panels and a “microclimate pool” that sits underneath the house, using evaporation to cool the house on hot days.

The house, that ranges from 5,000 to 12,000 square feet, depending on configuration, is designed to be best suited for beachfront locations in temperate climates.

However, this smart design doesn’t come cheap. Prepare for a construction cost of between $3.5 and $10 million.

If price was no object, would you like to live in an adaptable, zero-energy home?

 

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