Exploring FIXd's Shapeshifting, Wildly Futuristic 'Mo Ventus'

Curbed

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All renderings: FIXd

This swooping conception, called Mo Ventus, is designed to be a luxury mansion that also happens to be zero-energy and built with sustainable technology. With integrated wind turbines, photovoltaic arrays, and fuel cells, the insanely ultramodern house—which almost puts Zaha Hadid's white spaceship in Russia to shame—could be constructed pretty much anywhere in the world, and on sites that would stymie traditional builders. Architect Todd Fix should know: an architect at the prolific and very traditional New England firm Royal Barry Wills by day, he's seen the project that began as a small experimental design evolve into the mindboggling renderings shown above. Now Fix and project manager Ryan Ole Fass are hot on the hunt for—well, you know, an actual buyer. Throughout the process, they've sought advice from builders and engineers around the world and, as Hass describes it, "the biggest hurdle that we had was 'Wait, you don't have a client who is ready to build this?'"

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↑ The design is roughly 60 percent complete, says Hass, with plenty of room for customization and adjustment. "It could be 3,000 square feet; it could be 6,000 square feet. It could be two bedrooms; it could be six bedrooms." Even the interior renderings, rough mock-ups by Fix, are in no way meant to represent what the home would actually look like on the inside. But the duo are committed to retaining the overall design—obviously the most interesting part—and are seeking a "high net worth" buyer who's "interested in the sustainable features and caring about the environment and getting a house with zero energy," yet also one who is, in their words, "willing to take the time and money to build something spectacular." Their ideal client is someone who "wants a badge, someone who owns a number of homes around the world," and "someone who really understands and values unique architecture."

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↑ The team estimates the cost of this, excluding land, will fall somewhere between $3.5M and $10M, depending on the client's alterations and chosen location. That location is highly flexible, thanks to the house's power-generation capabilities, but Fix believes that the current design is best suited to live anywhere "below the snow line"—snow may interfere with the movable "screens"—that's right, this house moves. (More on that later.) For now, the duo suggests "tropical" sites with plenty of wind, where the energy-efficient design and integrated turbines would have the greatest effect.

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↑ The main focus of the design for Mo Ventus, according to Fix, is the "wind scoop," a curved, vertical element designed to direct air into the wind turbines imbedded in the façade. The architect was averse to "planting [the wind turbines] in the yard or attaching them onto a roof," instead designing the entire structure around the wind generators. The wind scoop serves more than one function, however; it also provides shelter for the rest of the house and, in a fun twist, could even serve as stadium seating for an outdoor cinema at the base.

↑ Also aiding in Mo Ventus' energy efficiency is the planned system of operable screens that could extend to block the sun's rays or retract into the base of the structure. "We call it 'shapeshifting,'" says Fix. It would "be automatically adjusted and controlled by the weather," or manually adjusted by the home's occupants. While the details of the latter have yet to be established, Fix is leaning toward "a crank, because it would be nice to have a hands-on approach, where you could actually feel the architecture." Thanks to a series of gears, the screens—which are "large, but not necessarily heavy"—could be comfortably manually adjusted using good old-fashioned manpower.

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↑ Finding a client for this unique creation remains the key to the Mo Ventus plan, and that's one of the reasons that Boston-based Fix sought out a collaboration with Hass, an L.A.-based real estate broker. The duo have pitched their plans to "some high wealth individuals in this country and overseas, and they've really responded well to it." They have yet to find someone willing to put "pen to paper yet," but they won't sacrifice the design to ensure its construction. According to Hass, "the integrity of the design is what makes this place so spectacular and unique [...] hopefully the person that wants to build this wants to build it for what it is and not what it isn't." Calling all Russian billionaires?

· Mo Ventus [official site]

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