- Humane Architecture -

:: Posted :: 2017-08

Some buildings - like this one I saw lately in Plochingen, Bavaria - are so unusual that they invite us to reflect again on what we mean when we say 'home'. Hundertwasser (1928-2000) produced a collection of such designs across Europe. Philosophically, they seem to me to be in line with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts movement, though the architect's determination to give owner-occupiers the freedom to paint anything they could reach from their own windows might not have sat too well with the stylised mock-medievalism Morris embraced.

I'm hoping to visit a Walter Segal house during this year's London Open House weekend. These take the next logical step of inviting the owner to build the entire house from the foundations up using standardised building materials (for example, 8ft by 4ft cladding sheets) which are intended to help control the budget. The design uses post-and-beam methods that the Pilgrim Fathers would probably have recognised. As for longevity - the prototype house which Segal built in 1963 as a temporary home while his main house was rebuilt remains usable today.

A further design I'm drawn to uses sandbags and barbed wire to create circular houses which will withstand earthquakes - though earthbag buildings can equally be rectangular, I doubt these offer seismic movement-proofing to the same degree. Organic-shaped houses have the further advantage of being aesthetically-pleasing in a way that emergency & temporary lodging doesn't generally match, though migrant housing north of Stuttgart showed that modular box units can achieve clean lines and a contemporary feel.

Wikipedia: Friedensrich Hundertwasser
London Open House website
Superadobe - further information

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