Cells are the fundamental functional and structural units that constitute all living beings; they function as building blocks, intertwined modules, that, when aggregated enable the construction of an organism.
Cell structure can, shortly be described as comprised of a membrane – a tissue that acts as a boundary, marking the physical limits of the cell; a cytoskeleton – a structural component that shapes and holds the exterior membrane; a nucleus, where all information about the cell and its purpose is stored; and, finally the cytoplasm – all the fluid that envolves that nucleus. By realizing that often in architecture, construction and economy as well as in biological processes, the concept of repetition and easiness of assembly are prized qualities, our proposal brings this motto to the design of a housing dwelling. So, the first step was to create a module, a cell if you like, that can, not only persist through the rigors of an alpine weather – specially during winter; but also be environmental efficient – from the production point – easy to build and using as much recycled materials as possible – of view as well as during its lifetime as a building. As a cell, this module would have to be comprised of some distinct elements: its membrane is its outer shell, its revetment; its cytoskeleton is its structure; its nucleus is not only where all the essential uses are located, but its structural core; and, finally its cytoplasm is its living space.
The location is Powder Mountain on the Wasatch Range, the site, is the first as stated on the competition rules – Site 1. Being in an alpine range, with its own peculiarities and climate, the most important aspects of laying out the dwelling must be, not only the way its uses are organized, but the way the building deals with its surroundings, with the sun course during the year and with the main winds that exist there.
The deployment of the cells, organized in a group of three, intends to deal with this complex conundrum. So, the modules are laid following the sloped terrain – 8% slope; facing South to receive the most of Sun light during the day; and being lapsed so that they can protect one another from the predominant winds. The layout of the dwelling responds also to all the activities and functions it is supposed to hold inside. There are three modules, separated by their uses: - First, there is a cell destined to shelter all the common areas – kitchen, living and dining rooms, office/library spaces; - Then, in the middle of the group, it is located a outdoor module – comprised solely of its membrane and cytoskeleton – holding a fireplace, intended as an area for gatherings, contemplation and exercising; - Finally, the last cell holds the living quarters, stacked on upon another