The House of the Future at MIT

December 6, 2002 - 12:00pm
Bldg. 90

During this seminar, Professor Larson will discuss two related housing initiatives at MIT: Changing Places/Houses in  The MIT Home of  the Future Consortium. Change is accelerating, but the places we create are largely static and unresponsive. ”Changing Places” is an MIT research consortium that explores how new technologies, materials, and strategies for design can make possible dynamic, evolving places that respond to the complexities of life.   Open Source Building Alliance Providing individuals with choice creates competition and incentives for innovation.  Mass-customization requires a modular component-based approach, which creates a pathway for new players to enter the $852 billion/yr. construction market.  Open Source Building enables the development of new products, services, and technologies that come together to create tailored, agile, responsive, high-performance environments.  Based on well-established principles of modularity - and paralleling recent developments in the automobile and electronics industry - Open Source Building is a strategy developed by the MIT Houses research group for the mass-customization of responsive buildings using modular physical/logical components (rather than the labor-intensive, craft-based approach of conventional construction).  It separates a building into a chassis (providing structure, power, communication, etc.), and mass-customized modules (for interior fit-out, exterior facades, electronics, communication, etc.).  Component design, engineering, and integration are at the system level. This allows building designers to concentrate primarily on the unique programmatic and environmental context of a building, and allows individual occupants to focus on tailoring their environment according to needs and values.  Kent Larson is a practicing architect and director of Changing Places: a joint MIT Media Laboratory + Department of Architecture Consortium.   He also directs two associated efforts at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: the Houses Research Group and the Open Source Building Alliance.  His current research focuses on 1) the development of open source design and construction strategies that can enable high-performance/low-cost responsive living environments, and 2) the application of these strategies and new technologies to solving problems related to energy and proactive healthcare.  Kent Larson practiced architecture in New York City from 1981 to 1995 in a partnership with Peter L. Gluck, and as Kent Larson Architects,  PC from 1995 to present.  His firm was selected as one of The Architectural Digest's 100 Architects for residential design.  His architectural design work as partner-in-charge has been published widely.

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