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School of Architecture, Center for Experimental Structures

Work by William Katavolos
Work by William Katavolos
Work by William Katavolos



Hydronics is the practice of using a closed loop system of liquid for heating and cooling. This system is incorporated into architecture but is separated from it. We are proposing a new architecture that not only incorporates these hydronic systems but are actually built by them. The air conditioning is achieved through night-sky radiation. Plumbing is through a series of clivus multrum, biodigesters, and bioreactors. All of the passive systems mentioned are already in existence but are severely underused. Our research aims to take these underused techniques and reimagine them into a singular, autonomous structure.

Every plant has its own individual sun. The Autonomous House is a dual engaged program. It allows for occupants to both work and live in a single space. The Autonomous House is self sustained, employing polymeric panels on all sides. These polymeric panels bio-manufacture algae to be dried into cakes and sold at a profit. The roof and southern facing panels are covered with a flexible photo-voltaic to maximize solar collection and to lessen the effects of solar degradation on the plastics. This collected energy is converted to electric energy which in turn power light emitting diodes, or LEDS. These create and control the bio-manufacturing process, effectively eliminating the need for natural light. It also creates three dimensional growing, as each plant can receive its own individual sun. These plants will be used to produce food, fuel, and pharmaceuticals. The panels that are exposed all receive indirect natural light, which allows for interior illumination of the space and guarantees they will never degrade. Properly maintained and protected the Autonomous House will last forever. It sustains itself and supports its occupants. For the occupants it is their occupation and habitation.


Project Designer: William Katavolos

Team: Ariana Cohn, George Beggs, Henry Harrison