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Sliding House

A close friend of mine (from Urban Capital) sent me the above video this morning. It’s of the “Sliding House” in Suffolk, UK. If you can’t see it above, click here. You have to watch the video to fully appreciate the house.

Built as a place to retire, the Sliding House consists of a building envelope with fairly typical punched windows that physically slides overtop of a minimal glass structure. This allows the building to adapt to the changing seasons (or to the moods of its occupants).

This concept of adaptable architecture is incredibly interesting to me. Because for a lot of climates — where the temperatures can swing dramatically from hot to cold and vice versa — it can actually be incredibly difficult to design an efficient building.

When it’s cold, you’re trying to trap heat inside the house. And when it’s hot, you’re trying to exhaust heat to the outside. So by default, the building has to be adaptable. 

In its simplest form, this could mean an operable window. But in a more elaborate form — like in the case of the Sliding House — the entire skin of the building might adapt.

And if it means having to rely less on active mechanical systems then I think it’s a step in the right direction.

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