reACT (resilient Adaptive Climate Technology) represents a new paradigm for housing, one built on a regenerative model of sustainability, able to serve diverse communities, and be integrated with diverse natural ecosystems. The concepts, processes and technologies demonstrated in reACT are applicable to a wide range of scales, densities and formal configurations. The prototype is built upon providing a common ‘DNA’ for not just one house, but an entire range of community of buildings. Regenerative design principles (responsiveness, flexibility, and adaptability) guided the Architectural design process used to give rise to this prototype; recognizing that local climate, individual choice and culture influence the specific forms employed in the design of the reACT prototype, advanced for this competition.
• Integrated use and reuse of resources (sunlight, heat, water, organic matter)
• Flexibility of technological systems and architectural spaces to support multiple housing resulting forms and patterns
• Adaptive response to diverse and dynamic resident needs
Tight integration of systems implies the ability to transfer resources, like heat and water, between components and for changing needs, which in turn suggests close physical proximity and well-ordered structure of connections and some capacity for storage and retrieval. Team Maryland focused on exploring compact forms cable of harnessing, storing and transmuting resources from the house and the surrounding environment. Ultimately, this led to the creation of a linear spine and a cooperating attic that connects the major mechanical, electrical and plumbing components of the house in a central Core.
reACT’s spine connects the heart of the house, the Greencourt to the Attic and the Mechanical Room. The Greencourt’s purpose in the UMD Decathlon competition is harvesting, gathering and distributing daylight, fresh air, while supporting the home’s social hub. What makes reACT’s Greencourt distinct is its flexible transparent skin, with large folding doors and operable sky-vents that allow the space to be either wide open or closed and protected, a space between indoors and outdoors, embracing both. The Greencourt and roof gathers and stores rainwater from the roof for use in the house and garden. The Wings that enclose the Core and Greencourt are similarly responsive to the needs of residents. The large open space of the Living Room and Dining Room allows either space to expand or contract, or to blend as one for different functions. Bedrooms are designed for flexibility for use as office, as den, or for one or more beds as needed.
reACT also intends to prototype new construction and transportation paradigms. The modular components of reACT - Bath, Kitchen & Mechanical Room, Solar Attic, Bedroom Wing, Living / Dining Wing, and Greencourt – comprise a kit of parts from which many different designs may be developed. We have developed three basic alternatives from which dozens of variations are possible, based on site, climate, budget, family make-up and levels of commitment to regeneration and sustainability. Additional components based on the same principles of sustainability will be developed over time. reACT’s kit of parts is, in turn, comprised of components that can be mass produced in factories, efficiently transported to the building site and assembled by local labor. Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) were a natural choice for the walls and roof. They can be rapidly fabricated under controlled factory conditions using a variety of materials, both natural and industrial.