Sustainable Cabin / Texas Tech University


© Urs Peter Flueckiger

The concept: a prefabricated, sustainable design-build project by the College of Architecture, the College of Visual and Performing Arts, and the College of Engineering at Texas Tech University. The Sustainable Cabin, a living laboratory located in , Texas, is an ongoing project that focuses on a variety of solutions embracing the creativity of architecture incorporating and celebrating sustainable design practices.

© Urs Peter Flueckiger

From Sustainable Cabin:
The colleges constructed a prefabricated dwelling as a model of sustainability and a laboratory to test and quantify sustainable architectural concepts. For example, the performance of solar panels will be tested and measured, and the data collected will be compared to the performance of competing products. In that way the prefabricated dwelling as a laboratory will produce data on sustainable components, materials, and water harvesting technology that will help future architects to make crucial and lucrative design decisions, and help them to envision how to retrofit existing homes with sustainable technology.

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Historical precedents for this project are Henry David Thoreau’s Cabin at Walden Pond near Concord, Massachusetts and Le Corbusier’s “Cabanon” Roquebrune-Cap-Martin, Southern France. Both projects are studies of the minimal spatial needs for living. Furthermore they are examples of structures that successfully relate to their sites and to the environment. Both projects were built under significant budget constraints, which are seldom considered in the design studios of our architecture schools. Thoreau was particularly mindful of the cost of the shelter that he built for himself.

sun diagram

He wrote:
“I have thus a tight shingled and plastered house, ten feet wide by fifteen long, and eight-feet posts, with a garret and a closet, a large window on each side, two trap doors, one door at the end, and a brick fireplace opposite. The exact cost of my house, paying the usual price for such materials as I used, but not counting the work, all of which was done by myself, was as follows; and I give the details because very few are able to tell exactly what their houses cost, and fewer still, if any, the separate cost of the various materials which compose them:

Cost for Cabin at Walden Pond 1847

Boards, ……………………….. 8.03 1/2, mostly shanty boards.
Refuse shingles for roof and sides … 4.00
Laths, …………………………. 1.25
Two second-hand windows with glass 2.43
One thousand old brick, ………….. 4.00
Two casks of lime, ………………. 2.40 That was high.
Hair, ………………………….. 0.31 More than I needed.
Mantle-tree iron, ……………….. 0.15
Nails, …………………………. 3.90
Hinges and screws, ………………. 0.14
Latch, …………………………. 0.10
Chalk, …………………………. 0.01
Transportation, …………………. 1.40 I carried good part on my back.
In all, ………………….. $28.12 1/2

© Urs Peter Flueckiger

Credits:
College of Architecture:
Urs Peter Flueckiger, Dipl. Arch. SIA, Assoc. Professor
Michael Martin, Architect, Instructor
Benjamin Shacklette, AIA, Assoc. Professor

College of Visual and Performing Arts – School of Art:
William Cannings, Assoc. Professor
Carol Flueckiger, Assoc. Professor

College of Engineering – Department of Mechanical Engineering:
Derrick Tate, Assistant Professor

Texas Tech Staff Members:
Sam Beavers
Mark Bond
Denny Mingus
Fred Porteous
Julie Rex

Students from Texas Tech University:
Spring 2008: Deborah Bradshaw, Justin Mecklin
Summer 2008: Piotr Chicinski, Michael Driskill, Cory Folsom, Brandon Pryor

Fall 2008: Joshua Atkins, Sara Bradshaw, Nicholas Genzer, Amanda Glidewell, Ginger Kapalka, Sergio Lainez, Jenna Murphy, Jordan Mussett, Eric Ritchie, Chelsea Sekula, Daniel Takahashi, Douglas Zimmerman

Spring 2009: Cody Carriker, Michael Cast, Sean Cox, Joseph Engelhardt, Edgar Gallegos, Amanda Gordon, Mckee Kelly, Ryan Kimberling, Lindsay Kunz, Bradley Latson, Aaron Marshall, Wesley McElhany, Kyle Meason, Kyle Robertson, John Simons, Warren Toups

Summer 2009: Ian Britt, Stephanie Hanlon, Cherese Wheeler

Fall 2009: Donovan Blakeley, Taylor Coleman, Crystal Davis, William Denman, Edmundo Fortuna, Justin Hackleman, Alex Kneer,
Tyler Marks, Kory Murphy, Jonathan Pace, Lauren Rentschler, Kenneth Roberts, Andrew Stiglmeier, Andrew Tyler

Spring 2010: Gregory Hemmelgarn, Brendon Hoffman, Jonathan Lemaster, Christina Liebelt, Gilberto Lopez, Phillip Miller,
Michael Morow, Kenneth Olson, Garik Rowe, Parker Sands, Amador Saucedo, Brian Wills, Austin Wilson

Individual and Company Sponsorship:
Texas Tech University Research Enrichment Fund Grant
Fred Koch, Stacy Henry, and Jon Black, The Pease River Foundation, Crowell, TX
F. Marie Hall, Midland, TX
John Dea, Dea Door and Window Co. Lubbock, TX
Mike Harendt, MBCI Metal Buildings, Houston, TX
Rex Neitsch, Thermal Insulation, EcoBlue, Lubbock, TX
Larry Harvey AIA, Chapman Harvey Architects, Lubbock, TX
Lumber Liquidator, Flooring Systems, Amarillo, TX
Craig Shankster, Energy Efficient Wood Stoves, Morsø USA, Portland, TN
BioLet, Toilet Systems, Fresno, OH
Lowe’s Home Improvement Center, Lubbock, TX
Encenex Corporation, Roof Vent Systems, Sugarland, TX
Cris Been, Therma Breeze, Solar Solutions, Lubbock, TX

View this project in Google Maps

* Location to be used only as a reference. It could indicate city/country but not exact address.
Cite: "Sustainable Cabin / Texas Tech University" 22 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=105822>
  • http://on.fb.me/fzciSW solararchitekt

    Its good practice for students to learn about design and construction of a building in real.
    The stools have a fantastic material and shape, that stapled together create a pattern.
    I wonder about the surface cladding. I assume that is aluminium which is a highly energy consuming material in construction. Why not using wood on the surface as well.

  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    Good aproach… may be this is a future of modile houses….

  • Did Gigazuri Daud

    yeh ! smart 1 ;)

  • Alireza Taherifard

    It reminded me of my dreams …