location: any site
date: 1995 – 2009
area: 1,035 sq. ft.
credits: Vlado Valkof – project architect; Assen Balkanski – visualizations
The storm activity in Tornado Valley of the United State where the site is located led to the dynamic morphology of The Sunflower House. Its gently folded walls ease the winds go away. The roof has no projecting eaves. Extended exterior walls on both sides protect from wind, supply shade, and create intermediate space of entry porch and backyard patio deck, blurring the boundaries between outdoor and indoor.
First floor program includes living area, dining, powder, and storage. The kitchen layout is compact and practical in the same time. Proposed is a single stack wall, common for second floor bathroom, first floor powder room, and first floor kitchen piping. Second floor accommodates two bedrooms with closets and a full bath.
The house is designed with insulated concrete form wall system ICF. It features emergency shutters on tracks for quick and easy operation and protection from tornado storms. They are designed of maximum strength Kevlar sheathing to stop and deflect wind-borne debris, the greatest threat from a tornado.
The project aims Platinum LEED certification and will reduce carbon emissions, city water usage and energy demands on community’s power grid. It incorporates sustainable, healthier, and energy-efficient building materials like reclaimed and certified woods, and doors and windows made out of recycled materials. The proposal relays on insulated glass and operable windows for natural ventilation. In addition there will be radiant heating and cooling. The 15 degree sloped roof was designed for easy covering in photovoltaic solar panels and solar water heating.
A house cannot achieve real sustainability if dissipates the land. Our concept is to only use what we need: first reduce and then reuse and recycle. The Sunflower House structure takes a compact footprint of 500 SF with respect to the resources it uses for its construction, operation and eventual decommission.