The simple, sustainable design of "A Recipe to Live" easily integrates with the lifestyle and landscape of the dairy farm town Taiki-cho in Hokkaido. Designed by students Masaki Ogasawara, Keisuke Tsukada and Erika Mikami of Waseda University, the project was the winner of the 2011 LIXIL International University Architectural Competition.
"A Recipe to Live" is a perfect mixture of pleasing organic aesthetics and practicality that is suitable for life on the pastures. Clean lines and geometric shapes give the shelter durability, while the spacious interior and simple floor plan is ideal for performing everyday tasks or resting. On the other hand, natural tones, soft lighting, and dried straw convey an organic feel that reflect the house's pastoral surroundings. However, even these aesthetic qualities are functional.
An example--and perhaps the house's most unique feature--is its zero-energy heating and cooling system, which uses only dried straw and agricultural fermentation. In the summer, the straw dries up in transparent window shelves that act as "heat shield panels" by releasing cool moisture into the home as the straw dries. The straw is then composted in acrylic cases inside the house during winter and can heat the home up to 30 degrees Celsius for up to four weeks through "bokashi," a Japanese low-odor fermentation method. Additionally, the straw only needs to be changed a few times a year.
At first glance, one wouldn't think the dried grass was the heating and cooling source for the shelter. The straw's darker color and rougher texture smartly complements the lighter-wood interior and transparent windows.
With its inventive fusion of form and function, "A Recipe to Live" is natural simplicity at its best--an essential trait for the future of green architecture.
Photos provided by inhabitat.com