// arthitectural / Architecture / Alchemy Architects, home of the weeHouse | Ardo

Alchemy Architects, home of the weeHouse | Ardo

Architecture Arado 6

The owner is a concert violinist with a one-year-old son.  In 2002, she requested a retreat costing $45 -$50k that valued poetry over commodity.  In 2002, the final cost came to about $57,000 including all interior furnishings, decks, and outhouse.   The architects produced the cabin with a team of 4 people in two months using prefabrication in a warehouse as a way to control the process, and keep costs low (and because it seemed like it would be fun!)

Formal Influences
• Literal siting of the house in a cornfield inspired image of house as farm detritus.
• The house made famous by Laura Ingalls Wilder in Little House in the Big Woods is only a few miles from the site, and is very similar in size to this house.
• The siting as chosen by the owner occupies a thin band of “greenery” between sections of cornfield.  It is as two-sided condition: to the southwest is the tree line and shaded ravine; to the northeast is the crown of the plateau – a false horizon that provides both privacy and a sense of expansiveness.
• The interior / exterior surface treatments create a locus, but implies continuity in the landscape.

Technical advancement
• The house was fabricated offsite in a warehouse in the dead of winter (Jan/Feb) for installation on site 1-3/4 hours away. The project was partially driven by the idea that a house that could arrive on-site 100% complete would have significant advantages over site-built or even partially prefabricated work. A steel frame provided rigidity and an effective means to bolt the prefabricated porch to the main house onsite.
• The exterior sheathing is cementitious panel painted with a latex paint imbedded with iron grit and oxidized to form a natural weathering layer.
• The house is a working example that 14’ wide & 10’ high dimensions (roadway shipping limitations) need not be limiting in providing a high-end housing solution.

Societal advancement
Constraints of the budget led to evaluation of many assumptions about what makes a dwelling.  The result has proven to be a non-exclusive symbol of accessible architecture for a wide range of people and project types. The success of this project inspired the architect to use it as a platform to design, develop, produce, and market a wide range of small, prefabricated houses with attainable budgets.

Details / Cost Control
• The height and width of the house were determined from the maximum roadway size limitations and to make best use of the materials and stock doors.
• Windows are efficient, economical, Andersen 8’x8’ sliding patio doors that flush out with the ceiling and walls on all sides to emphasize the shell tube-like enclosure.
• Siding is cementitious panels in lieu of steel for cost, fabrication, and ecological reasons.
• Douglas Fir flooring on all surfaces was used straight from the mill un-sanded.
• IKEA cabinetry was used off-the-shelf and adapted as needed to keep costs low.
• Ebonized oak ply shelves and fin wall, bed frames, translucent bookcase that separates the two beds, stair, rolling under-bed storage, were all fabricated in the architects’ shop.
• The cabin was rough-wired for future service, although site is currently off the grid.
• The outhouse was fabricated from leftover house materials.  A composting toilet may be inserted under the bunked bed in the future if needed.

Location: Pepin, Wisconsin, USA
Architect: Alchemy Architects, home of the weeHouse®

Sharing is Caring...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Tumblr
Sharing is Caring...
Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Share on RedditPin on PinterestShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponShare on Tumblr

Have anything to say?

// arthitectural / You may also like to see...

The new campus of TAC SEV is built across from the existing property of Tarsus American College (TAC). Considering its proximity to the historic context of the school, the new campus is conceived, as a design principle, a part of the TAC campus it is separated from by a road that traverses the premises. An […]


more