A decade ago, if someone mentioned a home that could be regulated by remote control, we would have thought they were referring to some futuristic sci-fi film like Blade Runner. UNStudio's W.I.N.D House proves that the future has arrived—at least as far as home design goes. With a comprehensive system that controls the building's solar-powered water and heating/cooling systems, this gorgeous "smart home" may look like something out of a futuristic movie, but it's very real—and it's an ideal example of what modern home architecture can be.
Built on the outskirts of a village in northern Holland, the W.I.N.D house integrates modern technology with natural, eco-friendly materials to create a living space that’s energy efficient and safe, as well as convenient and easily managed. Although the goal in building W.I.N.D. was to create a net-zero building that could respond to modern lifestyle needs, the house also embodies respect for environmental health, as well as the well-being of its occupants. This is a home that can shift and grow as family needs change, with vacant ares that can be adapted to a myriad uses, and is built in a way that maximizes benefits from its natural surroundings.
The bedrooms and office spaces are placed at the back of the home, where the nearby forested area provides natural seclusion and quiet. In contrast, the living areas have large windows that offer panoramic views of the polar landscape, and provide a startling amount of natural light. Windows are made with tinted glass, which allows daylight to flood the interior, but also maintains privacy for the occupants within.
Solar panels are installed on the roof near the back of the home, and the energy harvested from them controls the house’s electrical systems. Passive solar aspects have been incorporated into the building’s construction, as sunlight provides both light and warmth, and the natural clay stucco covering the walls and ceilings works together with the clay brick walls to maintain a regular interior temperature and climate. An air/water pump is also a key feature—this pump harvests waste heat and distributes it throughout the home, providing warmth in the wintertime and cooling during the hotter months. Wooden slats on the roof and facade also serve the dual purpose of creating shadows and providing soft openings for additional windows in the bathroom and kitchen areas.
W.I.N.D. is proof that organic, intelligent design is indeed the way of the future, and that future is now.
Photos © Inga Powilleit (Interior) / © Fedde de Weert (Exterior)