THE HOUSE OF TIMELESSNESS
Living Aleutian Home, Island of Atka, Alaska, USA, Competition, 2011
Borrowing concepts that are imbued throughout Tanizaki’s The Makioka Sisters, our scheme aims at grasping the essence of the novel and it is used to bind together all the inspirational elements of the project for a new family home on the Island of Atka. The knowledge that with life comes death, with destruction comes rebirth, becomes the concept that underpins the scheme.
The scheme calls to place a simple, but identifiable typology in the landscape. The building is raised up from the ground to provide views out towards the sea and the landscape and to engage with it. An indigenous shape is preferred to establish a strong relationship with the architectural tradition of the community.
The main axis of the new building is orientated towards Nazan Bay. The open-plan living space and the west façade of the house have a direct visual relationship with the expanse of the Bering Sea. There is a shift between the long axis of the house and the ridge of the 52 degrees pitched roof – an allusion to the steep banks of the Korovin volcano -, intended to cause a ‘butterfly effect’ on the mass of the building and to generate asymmetrical and dynamic facades, an anticipation of the sculptural space that one may find upon entering the house.
Motifs found on ancient baskets become the model to articulate the facades. The red colour recalls that of the derelict house to establish a sense of continuity with the history of the site and that of its former inhabitants.
The new house is completely self-powered by means of highly efficient monocrystalline photovoltaic panels coupled with a battery back-up system to store the excessive electricity produced; a snowmelt system guarantee energy production throughout the year.