Indy House Schematic Design: Function

26 02 2008

Now that we’ve found the best location for the house on the site, lets look at the design first in terms of function, before getting too far into the aesthetics.

We’re proposing a passive solar design for the Indy house, using the sun as a natural resource to heat and cool the house. Aside from the Owners being able to best utilize the space functionally for their working and living needs, this design of indoor comfort through a natural heating and cooling means is an essential piece to the success of this project. A passive solar design functions by using the building envelope as a thermal mass to gather, store & distribute heat. The goal is to allow for a comfortable indoor temperature year-round, even on the coldest winter night, and the hottest summer day. This will also drastically reduce the need for electricity for heating and cooling purposes.
Programmatically, there are certain requirements we need to incorporate, including a tiny bathroom (we’re proposing a composting toilet), a small eating area and a combination sleeping space/art studio space.

Looking at the house in plan, we’ve placed the toilet at the northwest corner of the house, opening up the rest of the house to direct sunlight. The kitchen area is situated directly south of the bathroom so as to share a plumbing wall and keep the entire eastern 2/3 of the space open for art hanging and working space. It is essential to the Owner to have as much open wall space as possible to display finished art, as well as works in progress.

Houses designed with passive solar intent try to minimize the number of windows on the facades that don’t face south. If we didn’t need so much available wall space and wanted to maximize other views, we would probably suggest windows on the other facades but in this case, we’re going to just maximize our insulation value and leave the walls opaque. Additional natural daylighting can be gained within the space by incorporating transom windows, which we’ll look at later in the next steps of the schematic design phase.

Structurally, the framing of this house should allow for an open plan to allow as much flexibility within the space as possible – whether it be through a prefab modular system, movable partition walls or completely open – we’ll explore those options more during the next stages of the schematic design phase.

Below, is the schematic plan, as well as an exploded axonometric drawing which diagrammatically illustrates our design intent functionally for the building envelope.


Schematic Plan:

plan 11

Exploded Functional Axometric View:

axon 10

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