Experimental house 1 | AIA House

Experimental house 1
The AIA House

Jesus R Velazco V
Project Architects
Gudjon Thor Erlendsson and Jeffrey Paul Turko
Year 2004
Emerging Materials

Experimenting with emerging high and low tech materials and their potential impact on function


The American Institution of Architects organized a competition for the American suburban house of the future. The submitted project proposed the uses of high tech sustainability solutions. This lead to the use of ETFE and passive solutions such as orientation to construct a building driven by sustainability. As a result of this approach, all the components are “cradle to cradle” materials and can be re-used and up-cycled.


The house is made of 3 distinguished elements: ETFE Texlon variable skin structure, internal solid volume and ground. This means that the main structure is a steel ETFE structure that acts as the environmental control of all internal spaces. This ETFE volume is treated as a single enclosure that is occupied by “solid” private spatial elements. Further more, the functional behavior of the internal spaces affects the space to ground relationship. With private areas sunken into the ground and the public areas elevated slightly over the ground.


We tested the functional elements of modern living through their intertwining relationships. Within this high tech sustainability proposal the typical suburban house is turned into a live-work system. Furthermore, the landscape and built volume are treated with the same approach. Above all this approach is a holistic approach which recognizes the various internal and external functions of modern living. So it deals with them through separation and integration, but always a part of the whole new live-work system.

The internal organisation consists of private and technological bands of “solid” volumes, and open common space volumes. So the bedrooms are “solid” with common external spaces that operate as play-relaxation spaces where harmful electrical equipment is separated from the sleeping quarters. Similarly an office in integrated with the functional volumes, allowing for an integrated use of the house as a place or work.