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Record Houses 2010
How does Record Houses reflect the times we are living in? This year, our criteria included simplicity, modesty, and sustainability, in keeping with today’s culture of restraint. Bearing these qualities in mind, the editors sifted through a diverse collection of more than 250 houses, then decided on seven. While most fulfill our criteria, each offers a richness of imaginative and organic design.

Several of the houses portray vernacular building forms with idiosyncratic and innovative strategies. Mount Fuji Architects’ Tree House in Tokyo, which transforms the traditional Japanese timber-frame house, takes the form of a tree. While less emphatically radical, Qingyun Ma’s Well Hall in rural China is an up-to-date interpretation of the courtyard house, designed for extended families, employing local materials, workers, and methods. Rough stone mined from Lake Champlain clads the ends of the barnlike forms of Rick Joy’s house in Woodstock, Vermont, making the walls appear old, while details like windows that turn into skylights and a roof without eaves reveal a contemporary hand. In another project employing stone, Dutch firm SeARCH and Swiss architect Christian Müller designed Villa Vals in Switzerland with an existing livestock barn serving as an entrance. The architects used local quartzite on the exterior and submerged the building into a hillside of its Alpine village setting. Read More

Andrés Duany Hopes to Build Prefab Houses in Haiti
March 31, 2010
By C. J. Hughes

As architects get involved in rebuilding Haiti after its devastating January 12 earthquake, and debate swirls about what new homes there should look like, a Miami architect has designed a series of prefabricated house and has teamed up with a manufacturer to get the dwellings built.

Andrés Duany, a principal of Duany Plater-Zyberk & Company, proposes using synthetic panels to build compact, prefab homes whose layouts and size would vary slightly depending on their locale—city blocks, suburbs, or the countryside. The city versions, for example, could fit eight bunked-up beds across 160 square feet; bathrooms and kitchens would be outside, as is typical with Haitian dwellings, Duany says.

Fireproof, waterproof, and mold-proof, the resin-clad foam panels are strong and flexible enough to withstand both earthquakes and hurricanes, which means that they’re a huge improvement over the masonry and corrugated steel used as building materials in Haiti today, Duany says. Read More


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