One way of treading a little bit more lightly on the ground when you build houses is to put them on stilts; last year we did a round up of houses on stilts that included construction shots and a model of Andrés Jaque Architectos "House in Never Never Land" in Ibiza.
Now it is complete, and Fabrizio of Abitare kindly sends us photographs.
The architect is quite explicit about the environmental reasons for building on stilts:
1. - The continuity of the arboreal mass (which contains animal habitats and migration corridors, playing primary role in the establishment of the atmospheric conditions that permit the life forms found in the association with the trees; also contributing to the mechanical reinforcement of the understorey).
2. - The continuity of the run-off and the permeability of the soil.
3. - The continuity of the water system, avoiding any sort of input to the understorey via irrigation for filtering in order to hinder the potential emergence of invasive species.
4. - The maintenance of the cycles of matter (the substrate is fees of transformations in order to allow the organic matter to rot and close the cycle.
Frank Lloyd Wright once had a client complain that the roof leaked; he responded:
Madame, your house is a work of art, and as such should not be carelessly left out in the rain." - I wonder how they seal around those trees coming through the kitchen.
Andrés Jaque notes that they mapped every single tree and shrub, and developed the geometries of the house were adapted to the space available between the trees. More than 80% of the house is on stilts to avoid any disturbance of the soil, or the animal communities in the soil. Any soil that was removed for foundations was relocated to create new plant and animal habitat.
So many builders just clearcut sites to make room for the house; others clear just where the house goes. Nobody even considers whether traditional foundations are invasive or unecessary. (Well, I do) Andrés Jaque may go over the top with his concern for every tree and shrub on the property, but he is showing a respect for the living things on and under the land that is rarely seen, and that we need more of.
Lots more pictures in Abitare