Born from the wish of land artist Mark Merer to make sustainably built homes look just as green on the outside as they are on the inside, Landhouse is a series of prefabricated houses that feature sweeping green roofs that residents can treat as their own personal meadows. Landhouses come in a number of different designs and are all constructed of SIPs (structural insulated panels), making them highly insulated and therefore very energy efficient. On top of that (literally), the living roof reduces rainwater run-off, is a great way to attract insects and birds and if you're in a dry area prone to fires, planting a succulent sedum on your house is an excellent way to protect it.
A LANDHOUSE can be customized with as many green features as the homeowner wants. The basic structure is very well insulated, but sustainability can be improved upon by installing ground source energy, heat exchangers, solar panels and more. In addition to eco-friendly add-ons, a Landhouse has all of the benefits inherent to a prefabricated home – lower costs and higher efficiency due to much of the handling and construction being completed at the fabricator’s facilities instead of at the site. Once the components reach the build site, the basic waterproof structure can be constructed in a matter of days.
A particularly beautiful example of a completed Landhouse, the Swinomish housing project (pictured in most of the photos shown in this article) began when a Mr. and Mrs. Pennock visited Mr. Merer and saw an opportunity to connect the artist with an architect friend who had been working with Ray Williams of the Swinomish Tribal People of Fidalgo Island Washington State. The tribe’s houses were designed with no regard for the landscape, and it became the goal of all of those working on the project to construct an environmentally sensitive scheme for the site – thus Landhouse was born.
Landhouse is currently looking for partners to set up a US wide Art-Architecture Research program for developing designs with tribal communities. If you are interested, please contact [email protected] or [email protected]