Community Design Center’s housing and greenhouse project wins the 2023 House of the Future Award
This rendering shows the greenhouse side of the GrowLofts design, developed by the U of A Community Design Center as taxonomy-based research.
The GrowLofts project, which combines housing and a greenhouse, won the 2023 Future House Award from Global Design News and The Chicago Athenaeum.
The project, which won in the Affordable, Social and Community Living housing category, was developed by the U’s Center for Community Design as typology-based research.
The Future House Awards is a prestigious and distinguished global residential awards program that recognizes new, cutting-edge design around the world. An international jury of many distinguished designers worked remotely and selected 70 entries from a shortlist as the “best of the best” in new residential design. This year’s award-winning projects are spread across 40 countries – from Uganda to Taiwan, and from Miami to Egypt.
The U of A Community Design Center, directed by Steve Looney since 2003, is an outreach center for the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design. Looney is also the Stephen L. Anderson Distinguished Professor of Architecture and the Stephen L. Anderson Chair in Architecture and Urban Studies at the university.
“What if you put a house in a greenhouse, and replaced a packed garden with a yard?” Lonnie asked. “GrowLofts is one of the future projects that achieves new results by solving multiple challenges simultaneously. This scenario thinking will become more important than ever in enhancing community resilience – the ability to adapt to volatile futures.”
Turning point challenges
The GrowLofts design shares food, energy and communal living at its edges without sacrificing family independence. The project brings together solutions to three structural challenges that will reach tipping points in the future: affordable housing, access to healthy food and renewable energy. This social housing structure is located in small urban lofts for short and long-term stays between the shared “super terrace” on the edge of the street and the shared greenhouse on the garden side.
The greenhouse is a four-season operation that supports a food forest and is powered by a natural “climate battery.” The climate battery is a store of solar heat and air exchange between the greenhouse air and the developing soil. Greenhouse soil stores excess heat and moisture that is drawn from the greenhouse air through a network of perforated pipes and overhead fans below the floor. Roots, trunks and leaves benefit from distributed moisture, significantly reducing the need for watering. During cold periods, warm air is drawn underground from the pipes and circulated to heat the greenhouse air. Heat can also be exchanged with attics opening directly onto the greenhouse.
GrowLofts combine solar energy collection with thermal mass and insulation to capture and circulate energy using temperature differences between soil and air. Onshore temperature fluctuations that have previously hampered greenhouse operations can be mitigated in order to grow food effectively year-round while harnessing energy many times greater than is possible from solar arrays.
Greenhouse farming is based on permaculture principles that include developing a healthy soil food web, polyculture or companion planting, nutrient recycling, and stacked farming or silviculture. Unlike the one-dimensional growing space in artificial greenhouses, forest gardening creates vertical layers of growing space from tubers to ground covers including culinary herbs, simple crops such as leafy greens, intermediate crops such as citrus and beans, viticulture such as passion fruit, and tall trees such as bananas and papaya. . The flower towers of insectivorous plants invite healthy pollinators and predators to control pests that are inevitable in greenhouses.
In parallel with the greenhouse, the Hyperporch facilitates greater hospitality and community than standard housing provides, without sacrificing the privacy of the unit. While GrowLofts are compatible in different contexts and climates, they provide a vessel for city dwellers, a regenerative social and biological “neighborhood” connected to a larger context.
Future House Awards
World Design News and The Chicago Athenaeum: The Museum of Architecture and Design has launched the Future House International Residential Awards for the third year following the program’s overwhelming reception in its inaugural year.
The Future House International Residential Awards arise from the convergence of residential design and architectural vision to support and recognize new and innovative residential projects on a global level. The awards program seeks to identify the best and most innovative designs for residential architecture.
The vision “From Shed to Penthouse” is to deliver comprehensive, pioneering architectural projects that ultimately define the current state, and influence the future of residential design on a global scale.
In 2023, Future House offers a unique opportunity to showcase new, pioneering and cutting-edge homes, apartments, vacation homes, residential additions, multi-family housing, renovations/renovations and sustainable and affordable housing to a global audience.
The awards ceremony will be held on December 8 at the European Contemporary Space Center in Athens, next to the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. The special exhibition “House of the Future 2023” will also open on December 8 in the newly expanded contemporary space in Athens and will continue until January 21.