For many city apartment dwellers, living in a small, confined space is hardly cause for celebration. But this year, the American Institute of Architects’ Small Project Awards honored the E.D.G.E.—an inventive 360-square-foot modular prototype that explores the concept of living well—and living green—with less space.
The E.D.G.E. home (Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment) is built more like a finely crafted cabinet than a house. The sustainable and portable dwelling, designed by Revelations Architects of Stevens Point, WI, features prefabricated modules for mechanical systems, a kitchen on one end, and a bathroom on the other. Loft bedrooms positioned above each module create an open central living made even more expansive by large north- and south-facing glass walls.
Fundamental to the adaptability of the living quarters is the built-in furniture that can be reconfigured for entertaining, dining, sleeping and working. The finished interior elevates the natural wood grain and beauty of one of the most basic of building materials: precision-cut Baltic Birch plywood. Horizontal slats of white oak finish the exterior and serve as a rain screen.
The house not only boasts a small physical footprint, but also a reduced carbon one. The house utilizes geothermal heat, passive solar design, air-to-air heat transfer and a butterfly roof for rainwater harvesting. Movable exterior insulated shutters serve the dual purpose of controlling heat gain and loss while providing security when the house is vacant.
To see the house in action, click on this clever video from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel in which Mary Louise Schumacher, art and architecture critic, spends a weekend at the E.D.G.E. home in Bayfield, WI.
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