« Form follows function ». This statement has been at the core of Modern Architecture since Louis Sullivan. But how true are architects and designers to the principle when it comes to designing houses. Function has taken a secondary role, replaced in the majority of cases by the formal, spatial, and ideosyncratic requirements.
All pictures are courtesy of Michael Jantzen
In sharp contrast with the above statement, internationally reknowned designer and artist, Michael Jantzen, went back
to the root of the question and produced stunning house designs that
take contemporary functional requirements as his primary form givers.
He designed an innovative modular system called M-vironements®,
consisting of a variety of components that can be connected together in
many different ways. It can be remodeled to the specific needs of the
dwellers. The structures that are produced with these systems can be
remodeled to the changing needs of its owners and the house can be
disassembled and relocated if needed.
The M-house is a sample of this modular system. It consists rectangular
panels that are attached with hinges to an open space frame grid
composed of seven interlocking cubes. The panels can either be hinged
horizontally or vertically to the cubes. The hinges will allow the
panels to fold into or protrude from the cube, and performing therefore
various functions that add to the flexibility of the house. The panels
can constitute enclosures, contain doors and windows, or protrude out
to deflect wind or rain. Some panels can even unfold from the face of
the cube to produce places to work, eat or sleep.
The support of the house comes from adjustable legs that are attached
to load bearing foot pads, adjusting themselves to land variations.
The designer produced from the same components as the M-house a small
pod that can be added to the M-house and would have photovoltaic cells,
batteries, water storage, and propane gas built into it and would
enable the house to function off of the grid.
The M-House and its small pod are for sale. You can visit the designer’s web site: human shelter for more details.