NYC Might Really Use This Resilient Home For All Seasons

A new style of home design takes into account the perils of internal and external challenges.

By Nathalie Nayman November 8, 2016
Courtesy of JTP Architects

Judging from the current real estate news, be it in NYC or across the ocean, it might seem that the one and only development trend these days is building bigger. The proud title of NYC’s tallest building keeps changing hands like a world championship in the UFC bantamweight division. A huge glassy commercial structure is coming to our very own low-slung Williamsburg. And Egypt is getting the whole new capital, and a huge one, too, because— why not?
Isn’t size the only thing that matters these days?
While the notorious one percent is constantly reshaping the urban skyline, the rest of us simple folks are concerned with a more trivial business—surviving the next Sandy, for example, without having their houses destroyed.

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Hence, the survival architecture trend—the science of building resilient homes that will last through any adversity: flooding, extreme weather or a nuclear war (probably, not the last one though). While funding resilient construction may still be tough, there is definitely no shortage of creative ideas and designs.
Take, for example, “A Home For All Seasons” project. It was created by JTP Architects and environmental design specialist Ed Barsley and it just won the Resilient Home for the Future Award. This home is designed to be resilient to flooding, societal changes (like family members distancing from each other over the 2016 presidential candidate choice – Ed.), extreme cold and heat. This last part might be particularly relevant for New Yorkers, with the somewhat abnormal 60 degrees in the midst of November (umm, global warming?). Wondering what Barsley’s Resilient Home might do about that? Here goes: “The high thermal mass of the ground floor ‘garden room’ acts as a labyrinth, pre-cooling the air before it enters the living area on the first floor and moves up through the natural ventilation chimney stack (that incorporates a heat exchanger) on the roof ridge. Adjustable horizontal louvers and solar thermal tubes provide shade to the glazed side façade, thereby minimizing solar gain.”

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It’s still unclear how much it would cost to build this flood-proof and dinner debate-resilient refuge, but the description on Ed Barsley’s website claims that “Affordability in construction costs is achieved through a compact regular building form and simple timber frame system with regular roof trusses that can be mass produced”. Whatever that means, building resilient homes would definitely be cheaper than dealing with the aftermath of your average hurricane. And some parts of NYC (Especially, the infrastructure. Yes, we are looking at you, L train) could have definitely used a bit more resiliency.

Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Nathalie Nayman

Nathalie is an international media trooper. After working as a journalist in Moscow, Nathalie participated in local politics and social movements in Cairo where she covered the protests and political upheaval of the Arab Spring. Nathalie is Agorafy's content manager. She produces and oversees unique and creative content for the Newsroom.

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