Editor’s Pick: Grass Living Room Fort
May 4, 2011
The internet is lousy with mobile architecture: on any given day, it’s a sure bet that any design blog will be featuring a sleek beach “camping” pod or two. The future seems belongs to those who build mobile. But we’d like to offer a revision to that platitude: it belongs to those who build inexpensively mobile.
Rome-based research and architecture office altro_studio seems to agree. Its Lawn House, a prototype for a lightweight, collapsable domestic assembly, costs just $3.60 per square foot to build.
The Lawn House is, essentially, a steel frame covered in plastic trays that hold 3cm of sod (an excellent insulator). Hence the trapezoidal shape: it was chosen to perpetuate water drainage. The two short ends of the trapezoid offer cross-ventilation when the doors are opened. A set of PV panels are anchored to the southern side of the structure. Says the studio, they imagine the Lawn House in use as any number of things: a tent, temporary home, storage space, travelling exhibition system, office, or advertising device.
It’s a simple structure that could potentially host a complex set of technological systems, comments altro_studio principle Anna Rita Emili, who adds that “we’re firmly convinced that architecture is a perfect synthesis of science and art.”
She continues, in a recent interview, that “I would define our architecture as kinetic and brutalist. Kinetic because it is based on the real and actual movement of architectural parts into space, but also as a reminder of a very important, albeit little known, Italian art trend of the ‘60s called cine-visual art. Brutalist because all our designs feature simple, pure, essential forms, poor, inexpensive materials, simple technologies, that however become complex with the application of automated systems.”
“Architecture,” says Emili, is a “self-sufficient instrument used by people people living all over the world. For us is important, for example, to consider catastrophic possibilities as a jumping-off point in thinking about energy and new technology.”