For most, the word “house” conjures images of rectangular dwellings with front porches and chimneys. Front lawns and garages too. But fast forward a few hundred years and the traditional four walls and a roof won’t be standard housing fare, according to urban experts. Climate change, population growth and geo-political shifts are already redefining the way we look at residential spaces of the future.
“The only path forward is to harness solar, wind and water for power and to use the power of computers to design, build and maintain homes,” says Victor Vetterlein, an architect residing in New York City.
To this end, Vetterlein conceived of a self-sufficient, eco-friendly dwelling called Reboot. Curvy and smooth on the outside, its futuristic aesthetic includes an elliptical glass elevator encircled by a white stairway with glass handrails, high-gloss floors and a change-able floor-plan. Wind turbines and batteries supply the home’s power, taking into account a predicted shortage of fossil fuels.
But as futuristic as Reboot may look, Vetterlein says it’s not nearly as “out there” as it seems. While its smooth-and-shiny surface and stem-like base may look like something out of Japanese Anime, most of the technology that would make it possible already exists.
For Chad Mitchell, architect and founder of Meridian 105 Architecture, a project called Weave Housing came about to address housing issues that include energy efficiency in a changing climate, affordability in a struggling economy and quality of craftsmanship in an evolving marketplace. The woven design of the multi-family project creates pockets of shade to keep the building cool, and these pockets double as balconies for residents.
The following five futuristic homes might sound far-fetched now, but as architect Chad Mitchell reminds us, even the most science-fiction-seeming homes are “… often grounded in logic and even feasible from a construct-ability standpoint.” Architects and urban planners can’t pinpoint exactly when these concepts will become necessary–it all depends on how economic and geographic factors play out–but they’re confident the most effective ideas will rise to the top.
Ted Givens, an architect with Hong Kong's 10Design, created this prototype for a tornado-safe home. Hydraulic levers pull the Kevlar-coated house into the ground when high-velocity winds pass by. The high-tech structure's roof then locks so water and wind can't enter. Once the weather clears, the house unfolds and residents resume normal life.
NEXT: A smooth, self-powered home that looks built by Apple.