Award level: Honor Award
Project name: Soft House
Project location: Hamburg, Germany
Firm name: Kennedy & Violich Architecture
Jury comments: Superbly innovative, this structure represents a rethinking of just about everything we know regarding housing design. The Soft House is a set of four live/work row-housing units constructed with traditional and locally made solid wood, and it can be completely recycled at the end of the building’s life. The Soft House challenges our notions about sustainability. Rather than a passive house, it’s an “active” house where energy and lighting become more like furnishings. Its shell is solid and enduring, but the domestic infrastructure is soft, mobile, interactive, upgradable, and managed by wireless-system controls. Unlike many rigid typologies, this carbon-neutral dwelling can be customized to meet the homeowner’s changing needs. For instance, the textile facade adjusts to follow the sun and shade the building while reflective interior curtains with energy-efficient LEDs can be moved at any time to subdivide space. There is envelope pushing throughout this work, especially regarding the integration between mechanical and other systems and the mapping of the exterior climate. These designers are extremely clever about reinventing a pre-existing building. Its energy impact is well documented. If we had to complain, the wood facade looks a bit unfinished.
Client: Internationale Bauausstellung IBA Hamburg GmbH (Public); PATRIZIA Projektentwicklung GmbH (Private)
Consultants: 360grad+ architekten; G2 Landschaft; Knippers Helbig Advanced Engineering; Steinbeis Forschungsinstitut für Solare und Zukunftsfähige Thermische Energiesysteme; Buro Happold; Global Solar Energy; Svensson Global, AG; Philips Color Kinetics; Automatic Devices Company; L-tronics; Holzbau Merkle; Textilbau GmbH