Challenge : To design a house with environmental sensitivity in a typical green-fill subdivision? Introducing the ‘Crossroad Concept’.
In essence, the idea draws influence from a reality that we engage with daily; the bitumen cross road. This man-made environment is a space controlled by stop lights; it is a space that forces us to interact with other cars and facilitates the manoeuvring of ours in the midst of theirs. The placing of a crossroad layout into the centre of a house plan proposes to provide the occupants with a place of interaction, a hub around which the household revolves.
This cross formation when viewed from the centre allows for four distinctive sight lines, offering four varied and unique perspectives to environments beyond. As the season’s progress and change, so do the experiences of outlook making this a space that is always changing.
At the centre, unlike its bitumen counterpart, the point of juncture takes the form of a landscaped outdoor court which is surrounded by operable glazing, encouraging adjustment and promoting flexibility.
The versatility of this crossroad layout is in its symmetry. The concept can be flipped, reversed or rotated depending on the lot orientation. This solves the problem of northern exposure as the courtyard can be placed toward the north no matter what direction the land offering.
I would like to suggest that an intimate and direct relationship with landscape at the heart of the plan draws the eye, shifting the emphasis from materialism to a more natural expression of individuality, nature.
Across the board we see a substantial portion of the population, 97% in fact, choosing to build a ‘project home’. The design considerations of which are procured though considerations exterior to livability and lifestyle. It is a housing model that limits individuality to interior aesthetics and soft furnishing detail.
1. Is this form of housing actually increasing the desire and desperation for material difference?
2. Could we be contributing to what Alain De Botton calls ‘Status Anxiety’?
3. Through a willingness to design for the majority by reintroducing nature and basic passive design could we begin to offer the 97% an opportunity for a model of housing that is currently the exception rather than the rule?