Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Very Simple Bungalow

South facing elevation.
Rammed earth load bearing walls, and stone foundation.

Section View.  From left to right: Kitchen/Living, Bathroom/Utility, Bedroom/Library.

As an exercise in prudence, this design sought to minimize expense of construction and use.

Minimizing the cost of the bungalow is attempted through two considerations; 1) through material selection, and 2) through minimizing labour costs.  Ideally the materials could be located on-site, where the plot is large enough and natural resources are available for use.  There are a few locations that I have seen in the past that would be ideal for such an endeavour whereby the resources of the site could be crafted into a well designed and built home.

For instance the use of rammed earth walls allows for a significant percentage of the design to be constructed without extensive industrialized processes.  The same reasoning applies to the foundation, and roof structure.  Stone block can be sourced nearby if the building location does not allow for it, and wooden rafters can be milled from trees on-site.

Provided stone, trees, and earth are available for use, it is possible to craft the architectural elements by hand. If not by hand using easily acquired tools, then machines like portable saw mills or pneumatic earth ramming equipment could be used as well.  Tools such as these could be sold afterwards, reducing final cost.  The labour costs are of course reduced by not employing others for the work, and instead invested into the design as "sweat equity".  Each structural element, from the rubble trench foundation, to the rammed earth walls, to the laminated wood beams, can be crafted by hand.

The heating and cooling costs are minimized through the high thermal mass, and south facing fa├žade of either glass or movable wood panels.  The patio reflects light as well as thermal heat into the house for winter heating while moveable wooden panels would minimize heat gain during the summer.  The relatively small floor area is not confining as the ceiling consists of exposed rafters and high ceilings, as well as opening up to views which draws the eye onto the landscape.