Westport 2067 House

Westport 2067 Prototype House  –  Westport 2067 was developed for inclusion in the Westport Historical Society’s 2017 06880+50 exhibition.  This show featured the work of a dozen Westport architects, who were asked to propose ideas about what the town might be like in the year 2067.

Based on 2017 ideas about how to promote a better and more sustainable lifestyle, Westport 2067 is conceived as a sustainable and highly functional prototype country house that anticipates the aspirations of Westporters fifty years from now.  It seeks to merge the natural beauty of Westport with the spatial efficiency of a Manhattan or Hong Kong apartment and is based on the belief that eliminating unnecessary and underutilized square footage is good for human interaction, good for conserving natural resources and embodied energy, and good for the planet.  Originally developed for a one-acre minimum wooded site, the house is envisioned as an intelligent alternative to the large, inefficient speculative homes that have come to dominate the real estate scene in Westport for the past decade.  Westport 2067 proposes a smarter option.

The primary benefits of Westport 2067 are as follows:

Optimal Utilization of Space

Westport 2067 contains a partially earth sheltered, walkout lower level and an upper level accessible from the main drop-off.  Substandard basement and attic spaces—prevalent in four level speculative homes—are avoided.  The heart of the house is the double-height living/dining space, which is contiguous to the kitchen and overlooked by a loft space near the entrance.  These spaces are ideal for entertaining and allow for multiple activities to occur simultaneously.   Bedrooms, bathrooms and kitchen sizes are modest by 2017 standards, but keeping these spaces on the smaller side offers the prospect of energy savings, avoidance of alienation and seclusion of occupants, and improved household relationships.  Should a homeowner or tenant prefer larger space allocations to accommodate changing needs in life, Westport 2067 offers flexibility for easy reconfiguration.

Due to the emergence of app-based car services, self-driving vehicles, and drones, it is predicted that in 2067 few individuals will own cars for daily transportation.  Accordingly, Westport 2067 does not include a garage.  Instead, there are drop-off areas at both levels of the house, with the upper, more formal level intended for daily use and the lower level for regular deliveries and for access to the mudroom area.  Should garage space be required for a vintage or specialty automobile, the Expanded Scheme does allow space for a garage bay.

Adaptability & Expandability

Utilizing prefabricated Universal Furnishing modules for bathrooms, kitchens, storage units, doors and staircases, Westport 2067 offers a high degree of flexibility to its occupants.  Deliveries and pickups via driverless vehicle or drone are anticipated and the Universal Furnishing modules are designed to be easily transported to remote storage location, thus allowing the flexibility to easily store seasonal or seldom-used items at an offsite location where storage costs are lower.

Universal Access is a key consideration, with generous circulation spaces.  At the center of the house is a large elevator capable of moving the largest Universal Furnishing module.  Bathroom and kitchen modules may be easily moved or replaced with larger units to allow full access to individuals who use wheelchairs or have other mobility impairments.

Should a homeowner decide for aesthetic or other reasons to install more conventional building elements in lieu of the Universal Furnishing modules, Westport 2067 can easily accommodate 2017 interior construction methods.

The Base Scheme of the house allows for easy expansion should more space be required.  The expansion portion can contain multiple functions on either one or two levels.  A one-story version might contain a home office or master suite, while a 2-story version might contain a home office or accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on the lower level and a master suite on the upper level.  The incorporation of an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) benefits the homeowner or tenant by providing rental income and/or allowing for multigenerational or staff living, as well as the Westport community in general, which lacks affordable housing and smaller residential options.

The proximity of the Base Scheme and expansion to one another creates an opportunity for a generous outdoor entertainment area with a pool.

 Reduced Use of Energy and Natural Resources

Westport 2067 is intended to be off the grid, with all energy generated by its rooftop integrated photovoltaic panels.  At the homeowner’s or tenant’s discretion, excess power may be offered to vehicles visiting the site.  In order to reduce energy use, the house is oriented in the east-west direction, thus minimizing solar heat gain.  The east and west walls of the Base Scheme do not include any windows, and most windows of the house are located on the south wall to take advantage of the south sunlight in the wintertime.  The exterior envelope features 18” thick walls and 12” thick insulated roof panels.  These thicknesses are sufficient to allow for a high R-value enclosure.  Today’s reinforced concrete does not offer optimal thermal performance, but it is anticipated that in fifty years developments in nanotechnology and construction will yield a cementitious insulating material capable of printing structures.  All windows are triple glazed.  The fully insulated roof panels are located on top of the roof structure, thus avoiding thermal bridging. Building envelope penetrations are minimized (plumbing vents use interior air admittance valves, the electric induction cooktop features a recirculating hood, and the clothes dryer is ductless).  The HVAC system includes a heat recovery ventilator (HRV), radiant floors, and a small cooling unit.  To prevent heat loss and back drafts, fireplaces and combustion appliances are avoided.

Other sustainable design initiatives include non-VOC building components, a rainwater cistern for toilet flushing, and a hydroponic garden.

Harmonious Relationship with Landscape

Based on the timeless form of the New England barn, Westport 2067 is partially earth sheltered and the front, street-facing portion of the house is the height of a one-story house, thus avoiding overpowering Westport’s natural landscape.  A lower height increases exposure to views of trees and sky and creates a more gentle and harmonious relationship with the landscape.  The house may also be constructed on a flat site with a terraced rear patio.  South-facing windows offer open views of the landscape from almost all rooms.

As Westport continues to lose historic structures, Westport 2067 offers the ability to be easily connected via tunnel to a preexisting historically and/or architecturally significant structure on a property.  This allows for the adaptive reuse of the older structure, which can remain as a distinct element on the site.

Ease of Construction

Westport 2067 offers improved ease of construction.  Simplification of the construction process and the use of Universal Furnishing modules (assembled in a factory, where quality, labor conditions, and fair employment practices can be more easily controlled) both contribute to making Westport 2067 a more affordable residential option.

After conventional excavation, sheeting and shoring are placed and the lower level slab, exterior walls, columns, elevator shaft and duct shafts are constructed in reinforced and insulated cementitious material by a large mobile 3D printer.  Steel roof beams are installed, roof panels are placed, then windows and doors are installed.  Upon completion of the basic envelope, the concrete exterior walls may be left unfinished, painted, finished in stucco, or clad in another material such as wood, stone or metal.  Based on simple homeowner or tenant decisions about lifestyle preferences, prefabricated Universal Furnishing modules for kitchens, bathrooms, storage units, shelves, interior door assemblies, partitions and stairs are delivered and installed.

© 2020 Scott Springer Architect LLC