The Ex of In House explores a language of space, aimed at inner spatial energy, strongly bound to the ecology of place, questioning current clichés of architectural language and commercial practice.
The site of the project is named T2 reserve, which is on twenty-eight acres of forested rock outcropping that has been established as an experimental topological landscape. The site was slated as a subdivision for five suburban house plots, but was saved from development and joined into one natural preserved landscape.
At 918 square feet (85m2), the structure is 3 times smaller than the average American home. Designed as an antidote to suburban sprawl, the building is a house of ‘compression and inner voids’.
The cabin building is part of ongoing research and fundamental exploration at Steven Holl Architects. The buildings geometry takes reference from that of ‘fourth dimensional’ tesseracts, which put simply are the four dimensional version of a cube. Spherical shapes are intersected with Holl’s interpretations of the tesseract to create curved geometries ‘carved out’ of the main shape.
The result of the conceptual explorations of Ex of in House is a relatively complex building form, though a surprisingly simple and approachable interior space. The cabin is designed to sleep 5 people, though no bedrooms have been created. The space is all open, though terraced through various spit levels.
The building is powered by geothermal heat transfer below the ground, and from thin film solar panels and battery storage.
The house’s geometry is formed from spherical spaces intersecting with tesseract trapezoids. The results of these spherical intersections can be felt at the entry porch, which is an orb of wood carved out of the main structure.
The spherical forms were constructed from layers of curve cut plywood that were stacked with vertical noggins for support. The curved frame was then clad with steam bent timber boards to give the sense of the shape being carved out of the main body.
The house was made almost entirely from raw materials by local builders. Window and door frames were crafted from solid mahogany, as well as a mahogany stair.
The absence of plasterboard was intentional. Birch plywood was used for all wall linings. The spherical intersection space was also crafted in curved, thin wood layers. All natural oiled wood and plywood interior finishes are part of the arte povera inspired materiality and economy of this place of wabi-sabi.
All light fixtures are 3D printed in PLA cornstarch-based bioplastic. Glass and wood are locally sourced.