This morning, the Wall Street Journal ran a story on The Green House of the Future, which featured designs by four architects: William McDonough, Rios Clemente Hale, Cook + Fox, and myself. My design, SmartDwelling I, is pictured above... the next several blog posts will focus on aspects of the house that contribute to its sustainability.
The Tower of Wind & Water is the central feature in the top image. Here’s a closer view. Rainwater is collected around the entire house in gutters, then runs to either side of the tower where it burbles into conductor heads that channel it into the Rain Pool, celebrating the arrival of new rainwater with sight and sound. The Rain Pool is the boundary between the Hearth Garden from the Kitchen Garden.
Rainwater is then pulled up as needed out of the Rain Pool to the cistern, which is the round part of the tower. Elevating the cistern allows water to gravity-flow from there to anywhere on the main level, where it can be used for irrigation or other greywater uses.
The top element of the Tower of Wind & Water is a wind generator that produces electricity. Nobody makes this exact shape of wind generator yet... many of the current generation of generators look as if they were engineered but not designed, leaving them inherently unlovable. This one, on the other hand, does its best to be beautiful while it is generating your electricity. The ground level of the Tower of Wind & Water contains all of the alternative energy equipment for the house.
~ Steve Mouzon
Wednesday, April 29, 2009 - 05:42 PM
Interesting ideas, and the project looks very nice as well! The addition of all of the roof mounted gadgets does make it look a little like "a mad scientist lives here" though. The outdoor spaces are great!
Friday, May 1, 2009 - 08:47 AM
With the usage of the gutters to a central collection point, could a small water turbine be incorporated to gather additional power when it rains?
Saturday, May 2, 2009 - 08:17 AM
Sam, thanks! The basic idea of the gadgets is that "if you have to have them, then make them beautiful." And think of how many things (shutters, awnings, porches, etc.) exist to channel the sunlight, breezes, rain, etc. These, too, are gadgets, but they have long since become just a part of architecture in our consciousness. That's what I'm hoping the other things can do as well... if they're considered by enough people to be beautiful enough to be repeated.
Saturday, May 2, 2009 - 08:19 AM
Interesting... I'd never thought of the water turbine! Let me run some numbers and see what they say. I kinda suspect that it won't be enough volume of water to create noticeable electricity, but I could be wrong. Great idea... thanks!
Friday, May 22, 2009 - 06:03 PM
Here is an interesting article from the Foxnews website. I had to search a bit to find it. I wonder if the wind turbines can be turned verticle like the typical wind turbines used to ventilate attics.