New York architecture studio SO-IL and British brand MINI Living have built Breathe, a sustainable house designed to explore the future of urban living and to allow occupants to interact with the outside environment in a completely unique way.
The housing prototype, which was exhibited at Milan’s 2017 Salone del Mobile, is entirely contained within a breathable, translucent outer skin, draped on a modular steel frame. It is constructed from a PVC fabric with a coating that filters out and purifies dirt and other pollutants, allowing the house to ‘clean itself’. The skin filters the sunlight, while the organic shape of the house changes the quality of sunlight in different spaces throughout the day. The flexible structure is loosely divided into six spaces including a lush roof garden, where plants provide additional air filtration, and rainwater is collected for use in the house.
Squeezed onto a vacant lot measuring just 538 square feet, the three-story house is designed to increase the connection between its users and their surroundings, whilst retaining a minimal carbon fooprint. The modular design allows the creation of a flexible living space that can be adapted and transported to suitable urban environments. According to SO-IL, in contrast to a standard house, with fixed rooms, each with a fixed use, Breathe was designed as a loose stack of porous ‘realms’, each with a different atmosphere and experience.
We have already seen examples of sustainable homes designed to create a stronger connection between inhabitants and their natural environment, like a 3D printed solar-powered home, or adapted to face extreme weathers with solutions like a concave roof system for water collection and indoor cooling. How else can sustainable housing improve and incorporate the natural environment?