The Cloud House is a digital envelope or skin to facilitate connection and change, a space crafted from information, scanning and sampling., skillion roofed glass boxes on stilts at the beach brimming with optimism and delight."aerial houses"The Cloud house echoes the form of Robin Boyds beloved 1950's
In the next Twenty years Melbourne will make a significant decision about its growth; to promote continued sprawling suburban growth along the existing growth corridors principally to the South East or begin to focus more carefully on developing the infra structure of the existing urban landscape to make a denser but highly livable city. The Melbourne Docklands development proposes to double the size of the Melbourne CBD, bringing the centre of Melbourne closer to the bay and opening up the possibility of linking the bay readily to the city centre by water. Water will become a central element in the new image of the city. The exhaustion of natural oil reserves in 2025 will bring new economic pressures on our predilection to needlessly travel long distances.Urban strategy
This proposal syntheses the road building momentum of Transurban and the water focused inner city developments in the Southbank and Docklands precinct to create a new water based suburb on the bay. In the great tradition of highly desirable residential precincts on bridges throughout history [300 in medieval Europe including London Bridge and Ponte Vecchio] it is proposed to build a futuristic suburb on piers on Hobsons Bay.
Hobsons Bay and the north eastern edge of Port Philip Bay presents a shallow 4m deep, wide shelf of water ideal for living on. This location comes with cooling south easterly breezes in summer and warmer Northerlies in winter combined with stunning 360 degree views of both bay and city.A series of 1 kilometre long piers [ only twice the length of the current St Kilda Pier] is proposed, each sitting lightly on 18 pylons above the water. Constructed by Transfield using existing freeway overpass technology they cost $30 to $40 million each, fully serviced. At $800 per square metre this land is substantially cheaper than bayside land at $1,200. Each pier provides an extra 14,000 square metres of public board walk, promenading and recreation space. The piers are kept as low rise developments to preserve the existing land based bay vistas and the bays horizontal character. The piers act as a focus for water based recreational and sporting activities, floating restaurants, new marinas, yacht and boat moorings. Each pier has 140 two storey detached houses or 300 two story row houses or 400 apartments.
The Cloud House is a dynamic digital and glass envelope, responding to the needs of the occupants and to climatic change. It is a campsite for the new nomads, designed to facilitate connection and change where information is precious, occupation and lifestyle change constantly and the little time one has left for friends and family must be spent well. Voice and gesture control most domestic functions from the small swarm of robot vacuum cleaners to the patterning and ventilation of the glass skin The kitchen space is integral to the living room and is easily movable to the balcony or any other part of the house., skillion roofed glass boxes on stilts at the beach brimming with optimism and delight."aerial houses" The filmy organic shell of the Cloud house echoes the form of Robin Boyds beloved 1950'sAs a media skin for the occupants the identity and character of the house evolves as it responds to and stores data from the needs and use patterns of the occupants. Favourite ventilation patterns, privacy and illumination settings and graphic envelope displays will forge the house into the comfortable character of a well worn glove. It is a space crafted by information. The compact sites have interlocking plans to provide longer sightlines and increase the sense of space.The house has been designed to dramatically reduce energy consumption while maintaining a high standard of living in this next century. Rather than propose a radical new housing form for established suburbs this approach proposes a city zone embodying new technology and contemporary lifestyles in a desirable package, exploits a new location, with benefits for residents and tourists. From here the new technology will filter out to the old city.Technology
The building has a dynamic skin that responds to climatic change and the demands of the occupants through an array of sensors connected to a loose network of small control computers. The building can store energy in the form of heat within hollow structural columns acting as thermal batteries. Such a building can be likened to a mammal in its ability to conserve its temperature by controlling the permeability of its outer skin.
The glass envelope of the house is a high performance composite incorporating electronic, holographic and mechanical ventilation systems. The modular glazing system includes low profile evacuated, aerogel sandwich, gas filled double glazed sandwich panels, active chromogenic glazing including electrochromic coatings [A small voltage makes the coating opaque], and thermochromic coatings [opacity controlled by temperature] and photovoltaic [incident sunlight is converted to electric energy]. The energy generated powers the window systems. Electrochromic and efficient amorphous thin film photovoltaic coatings are about to go into commercial production. Much of the research is Australian.A distributed array of climatically responsive computers control the performance of each window module while sensing the response and activity of the surrounding windows. The skin of the building becomes a cybernetic membrane.
The house is constructed as a discontinuous compression-tension structure. The hollow columns take all the compression loads. The roof structure is a modular composite beam, with a core of recycled plastic acting as insulating material, with the internal upper edge scalloped, to duct heated air from the roof surface so the roof can act as a thermal solar collector. This heat is sent to the thermal batteries. The upper surface of the roof is curved to shed water and matches the moment cross-section required for the span of the beam.
Heat pump and arterial heat circuit
Dry break mechanical coupling system for domestic services
A heat pump drives a thermal cycle in the building to collect, dissipate, store and redistribute heat for year round temperature control. The heat pump is mounted externally to avoid space wastage and to simplify access for repairs and upgrades, as on domestic airliners . It can also act as a battery charger for the electric car. An aerodynamic weatherproof body protects the mechanism. The system is rented like a TV or VCR. It is replaced if it malfunctions.It is mounted onto a shock absorbing base and is located directly over self sealing quick couple connection points. These supply natural gas into the pod, electricity out of the pod and hot or cold air to and from the thermal storage system as required. The service pod has its own active noise suppression sound system. This can be used to radiate quiet through out the house.The floors and roof act as a ducted heating and cooling system like a 'printed circuit' for moving heat and cold air. Ducts are cut into composite floor and roofing material. The air-duct circuit is specifically designed for the demands of a particular building and cutting is a computerised operation, done during manufacture. Heat energy collected from the roof is stored chemically within the 4 central hollow columns and reradiated through the floors as required. The system is reversed for cooling in summer. Movable internal walls are coated with exothermic paint to create large and efficient space heaters in winter.
A single integrated loom cables services to all domestic spaces. It uses"dry break"self sealing couplers [like the LPG hose at your local petrol station] to allow rapid connection to any service. This makes space more equipotential to allow any function in a given space, and different ones at different times. A living space can be cabled and serviced in a single operation. The loom is fixed in a channel in the floor. The loom contains sewage out, mains water in, electricity in, telephone and optical in and data through. Access ports can be added at any time positioned at any point along the loom. The self sealing couplers prevent spillage.
Mechanical vapour recompression bathroom module
This is a roll in, roll out bathroom module, extrapolated from aircraft toilet modules, designed around a mechanical vapour recompression water recycling unit. This bathroom is designed with a flexible "dry break"connection system for fast plumbing. All the fittings can be folded away to allow other uses of the bathroom space. The bathroom features are designed to minimise water usage. with contoured, efficient low profiles.The mechanical vapour recompression unit recycles and distils grey water though an evacuated boiler. This system, pioneered in the dairy industry significantly reduces the energy need to distil water. Distilled potable water is stored in a 200 litre holding tank for reuse in the shower and hand basin and for flushing the toilet. The estimated energy requirement for the system is 1 kilowatt for every 20 litres of purified water.The toilet is a dry toilet, using only a tenth of the water required by traditional fittings. The unit features a non mechanical system to liquefy solid waste for efficient disposal. Sewage plumbing cross sections can also be greatly reduced. The toilet pan and shower head retract into the bathroom module and the bath folds up into the shower recess. To compensate psychologically for the reduced water use, lighting is used to emphasise the presence of water, shining through the translucent fittings creating ripple pattens on ceilings and floors.
Design: Michael Trudgeon, Anthony Kitchener
Visualisation: Glynis Teo