The house that morphed

Live Work Home is a flexible residence designed for the "new, urban context" in which living and working can walk hand in hand.

Architects and contractors these days like to use solar panels and low-flush toilets when designing homes, and although these are important to minimise your carbon footprint, they can be removed when property changes ownership. Thus leaving a building that is still not as eco-friendly as it can be.

Cook + Fox Architects have tried to correct that with the Live Work Home, a small residence that’s sustainable both in the traditional sense (it recently received its LEED Platinum Certification) and in the sense that it’s designed to last.

The card up the architect’s sleeve is a flexible floor plan. A sturdy, perforated box stretched along a long, narrow lot of the downtrodden Near West Side neighborhood, in Syracuse, New York, it features sliding doors and mobile partitions that can be arranged and rearranged to accommodate various family sizes, generational needs, and even functions. It can be simplified for an elderly couple or meticulously partitioned for a young family. The great thing about this design is that doesn’t even have to be a home, it can be a workspace as the name suggests.

It’s also conceived to be cheap and simple to maintain so that anyone, whether a student or an octogenarian, could take care of the property, thus ensuring that eco-friendly housing is available to anyone.

Passive heating and cooling strategies take center stage. The 1,400-square-foot home has radiant floors and a building envelope constructed out of Structural Insulated Panels that improve insulation and, in turn, reduce heating costs. A heat recovery ventilator circulates filtered air year-round. And a large, garage-type front door can be folded down to create an open-air front porch for cooling off in the summer.

Cook + Fox’s goal is nothing short of helping to revitalize the neighbourhood. They envision the Live Work Home as a seed building--an Utopian architectural blank slate that can be used any which way and in doing so, spurs diverse development that forms the basis for a thriving urban community.

Here is what the architects had to say:

“Affordable housing alone does not respond to the needs of the neighborhood; its vitality as a community is a question of sustaining livelihoods and the social diversity. Just as pockets of extreme blight and vacant lots can weaken a neighborhood, adding density to the small-lot patterns of Near West Side with mixed social and economic activity will re-energize the community. … This 1,400 square foot project reconsiders the understood definition of ‘home’ for a new, urban context.”

  Comment on this Article

  Please login to post comments

Post to my facebook wall
Characters remaining

    Latest Property News
    • 22 Feb 2018
      An excellent credit score is one of the most priceless assets a potential home buyer can have. This tool has the power to secure favorable mortgage and refinancing rate, influencing everything from the size of the loan repayment to the interest rate on the home loan.
    • 22 Feb 2018
      What do you do if you love your home’s location and the area, but the home no longer fits your growing family’s needs? Do you stay and renovate your existing home or find a home that meets your developing criteria?
    • 22 Feb 2018
      While every owner wants to sell their property at the best possible price, overpricing a home can be the kiss of death for a sale.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      Given the hand they were dealt, government has performed a delicate balancing act which it is hoped will serve to reignite confidence in investment in South Africa, regain our global credibility and satisfy the credit ratings agencies, says Dr Andrew Golding, chief executive of the Pam Golding Property group.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      The real estate mantra, ‘location, location, location’ remains a strong market influence regardless of the prevailing economy, with suburbs like Rondebosch enjoying the buffering benefit of being ideally situated.
    • 21 Feb 2018
      These days most buyers are using online property portals like Private Property when house hunting due to the convenience, up to date information and variety on offer. “The property portals have revolutionised the way buyers shop, but they do need to be cautious – viewing photos online is no replacement for viewing the property in person,” says Bruce Swain, CEO of Leapfrog Property Group.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      Owning a home is a milestone that most South Africans aspire to. Becoming a homeowner is a step towards growing personal wealth and owning an asset that appreciates in value over time, provided of course that the correct principles are applied during the buying stage of the process, says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
    • 20 Feb 2018
      The suburb of Greenstone in Johannesburg east came to be over the last two decades. “In the beginning, it was literally just a hill with not so much as a shopping centre,” says Michael Levy, Property Consultant at Jawitz Properties Bedfordview. Today it has plenty shopping facilities and is fully built, boasting high-density, upmarket housing and residential estates, though still has a few pockets poised for commercial development.
    Subscribe to the MyProperty Newsletter

    Last Name  
    Email Address  
    Email Frequency
    Share this Page

    For Sale Property
    Rental Property
    More Options
    Connect with us