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Casa Futura: Sustainable Design

Kevin deFreitas Architects

Casa Futura: Sustainable Design
By Francesco Pagliari -

Amid the building and urban sprawl of California’s San Diego a one-family residence is experimenting with “sustainable architecture”. The governing principle is to combine rational design and proper application of technology with maximum efficiency of architectural layout. Planning strategies and technology are harnessed to achieve high living comfort, a cosy ensemble and an attractively modern home.
Kevin deFreitas’ project harbours resources and takes a broad approach to containing energy and environmental costs, minimizing the need for active consumption such as air conditioning. By rationalizing the various systems he has effectively cut out wastage. In a country of world-beating resource consumers, the idea of sustainable architecture means racking one’s brains to find devices that will make a certain lifestyle possible without forgoing what are by now considered essentials of our high standard of living. Parallel with this, one here has a “normal” dwelling built to sustainable criteria, achieved without dragging in radical political or social principles.
Designed as a home for six people, Casa Futura manages to keep consumption of electricity 60% lower, and water consumption 65% lower, than the Californian average for comparable accommodation. There is a marked note of minimalism about the architecture and the layout: low-cost “passive” techniques are applied, but there are also “active” strategies of energy-saving and natural resource exploitation via innovatory technology. The house is formed of two simple regular-shaped volumes linked by a bridge on the first floor. The main living quarters comprise one elongated two-storey rectangle 5.5 m deep and 26.5 m long, with a staircase in the middle and rooms leading off a corridor down one side.
The day-time area is on the ground floor: kitchen, large living room, bathroom, a communal space and a separate en suite guests’ bedroom. The floor above has three bedrooms and respective bathrooms. The...

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