FUTUREWATCH: Michael Jantzen’s Stair-Scape House
The Stair-Scape House is a small functional art structure intended to be used as a weekend retreat, studio, office, or guesthouse. It was designed to explore ways in which one might interact in a very specific physical way with their built environment, and at the same time, generate some of the energy needed to power it.
The basic shape of this 1000 square foot cube structure is radically changed by the 180 steps that wrap around it, and are built into the roof. Each of these steps is equipped with specially designed piezoelectric tread plates that generated a small amount of electrical energy every time someone steps onto them. This electrical energy is stored in batteries and is used to supplement the total energy needs of the Stair-Scape House. The hope is that the final unorthodox form of the house will inspire the owners and their guests to frequently climb the stairs for exercise, for fun, and/or to help power the house.
The structure is designed to be constructed entirely from sustainably grown painted or stained wood. The roof of the structure is designed to be used as an open deck with built-in benches and storage cabinets. There are also four large wooden exterior decks and walkways built-in around the perimeter of the base of the house. Four large sliding glass doors on two corners of the house are used to enter and exit the structure, and to naturally ventilate it.
On the inside, there is a large center skylight in the ceiling which is also used to help ventilate the structure and to help naturally light it during the day. Office, food preparation, storage, and entertainment facilities, are built into the walls under the exterior staircase additions. A small bathroom module stands out in one corner, with a guest bed on the top. All of the functional art furniture in the Stair-Scape House was designed to symbolically refer to the whole idea and experience of climbing stairs. As a result, all of it visually reflects in one way or
another, the image of a staircase.
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