Every day I see wild concept videos of futuristic homes. Last week, I saw a floating pod that you could live in. The bedroom was underwater and your living room was up top. A couple of years ago, someone on the SketchUp team watched this video which led to us making a digitally fabricated Wikihouse.
I love insane, ridiculous, and forward looking concepts of the future. Not being bound by budgets, design norms, and consumer demand can allow for anyone's creativity to produce some amazing ideas.
What I find truly fascinating however is new, forward looking ideas that could actually become a reality. Re-imagining and designing a concept is hard enough. Going that last 10% and proving that your idea can work in the real world is something I have huge amounts of respect for.
That brings me to FutureHAUS. Over the last few years, The folks at Virginia Tech have been imagining the home of the future. They are rethinking how a home is built, how we live in it, and how we interact with it. But instead of insane ideas of floating space pods or cryogenic freeze beds, Virginia Tech students and faculty are taking a much more pragmatic approach. I’ll let Joe Wheeler, the professor behind this project explain it to you:
As you can see, this cohort has completely reimagined the home into something totally futuristic, yet very familiar to live in. This concept is so real, in fact, that Joe has already sold a real house built using this system. No kidding: Joe bought some land and built a cartridge style house in a month in a warehouse, then installed it on site in a few weeks and sold the project for a profit. Even before this idea has been fully realized, the concept has been proven out. Did I mention that they have used SketchUp in nearly every stage of the design process?
Of course, no good idea comes to life without considerable adversity. After our awesome visit with the Virginia Tech team a few months ago, we received some bad news. The warehouse where the FutureHAUS project was stored caught fire and the program lost all of the project materials.
While the physical building may be gone, as Joe says: “the knowledge is still there.” Having met and spent time with Joe, I know the FutureHAUS will come back better than ever. We’re going to try and help them in any way we can, and we wish them the best success as they redesign, rebuild, and reimagine what homes can be.