Orchid House"s Solar House Primer
If you have not heard about Orchid House in Taiwan, now is the time.
Problem: Limited Land & Population Growth
Orchid House writes: "We would like to talk about the possible development of our solar house to a new type of Taiwanese social housing system. At the present moment, Taiwan's social housing situation is in sore need of improvement. As much of Taiwan's land is not easily developed, most of the 23.31 million people of Taiwan live close to the coasts rather than in the mountains, which take up around two-thirds of the island's land mass."
Orchid House points to the most logical solution: building upward. Most families, it writes, presently live in duplexes or houses that are three to four stories tall. As such, these structures consume very little horizontal space.
"We believe that our solar house can help mend the social housing system in a number of ways in addition to making the buildings of Taiwan more environmentally friendly without causing a large disturbance in the pre-existing structures.
Firstly, the manufacturing process of our house can be modularized and industrialized, which will reduce the workload of the construction workers and shorten the required construction time, ultimately resulting in a lower construction budget."
The goal is far-reaching:
"Our goal is to revamp the social housing system of Taiwan and integrate more eco-friendly buildings in the process. As one of the aspects of environmental architecture is to disturb the surroundings as little as possible, one of the things we hope to accomplish is to create a design that causes minimal disturbance and even contributes aesthetically to its surroundings. Wechoose "Urban Regeneration" as our goal because we strive not only to improve the architecture of crowded cities like Taipei, but also to target social issues by addressing the social, economic, and physical needs of the people. Our solution is to build on top of existing buildings – specifically, the row houses and duplex apartments that are extremely common in Taipei."
Source: Orchid House