The Phoenix House is a solar home designed to be an outpost for living off the grid. Designed by architect Robert Augustine, the Phoenix House is set in the intensely hot, dry climate of the desert near Phoenix, Arizona. It celebrates the potential of emerging photovoltaic and wind technologies and couples them with passive energy design strategies to create a “machine for living.” It is responsive to the external environment and adjusts the internal climate and conditions for optimum comfort, convenience and lifestyle.
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A giant solar roof umbrella supported by a steel frame and vertical steel trusses sits over the living space. A photovoltaic array and water circulating solar panels are integrated in this umbrella. The house is wrapped in a granular coated, recycled aluminum skin with high emissive qualities that reflects and releases the sun’s heat and keeps the skin surface and structure cool.
A two-story greenhouse cavity wall, facing south, insulates and protects the living space from extreme temperature fluctuations. The greenhouse can also help humidify the air in this intensely dry climate. The solar pool, linked to collectors, serves as a heat pump. Brightly colored awnings adjust to shade the roof garden/ deck. A solar electric pumping station charges vehicles directly from an attached photovoltaic.
The house is a prototypical design, which can be manufactured as a kit of parts that can be shipped and assembled on-site.