Take a spin in the ReActor House

Reactor image
© Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley.

What a shame to learn that the ReActor house is an art project. It is actually a great idea for a real house; at 8 feet wide and 44 feet long, it is the size of a shipping container and could easily be mass produced and transported economically. It has a minimal foundation, supported by a single post, treading lightly on the earth. It is raised high off the ground, which is great for installation in areas prone to flooding. It rotates to follow the sun or the view.

The vertical movement is a bit disconcerting, but is perhaps a clever way of providing access; just tilt the house down and step in, then set it horizontal again, no stairs required. And I lived in a house with sloping floors; it is great when you have kids with lots of toys, they all rolled to the middle. Here, they would roll to one end for easy collection.

reactor elevation© Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley.

And it is made of our favourite material; according to Dezeen,

The objective of the exhibition – Wood: From Structure to Enclosure – was to demonstrate the different possibilities for the use of this material. "The use of primary materials in the hands of architects and designers offers a glimpse at endless plastic and formal possibilities," said Architecture OMI director Warren James.

It is a simple, minimal design:

Symmetrical living spaces occupied by each artist made up the plan. Each half of the "house" included basic cooking amenities, and a central bathroom was shared by both occupants.

reactor rendering© Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley.

Alas, it is only temporary, a two year project. According to the OMI International Arts Center website,

ReActor is the newest work in an experimental, performative series of "social relationship architecture" designed and built by internationally renowned architect-artist duo Alex Schweder + Ward Shelley…. ReActor is a habitable sculpture, where Schweder + Shelley will live in full view of Omi's audience. The 44-foot by 8-foot structure rotates 360-degrees atop a 15-foot concrete column in response to its inhabitants' movements, exterior forces, and interior conditions, making visible the intimate relationship between architecture and its inhabitants.

But as often happens, life imitates art. We have noted before that the most important part of the shipping container is the handling, the ability to move them anywhere cheaply and quickly. Schweder + Shelley have demonstrated a design that is fun and exciting that could be built anywhere and shipped to a site and installed on a single post. Someone should put this into production, with or without the tilt.

Take a spin in the ReActor House
This shipping container sized house is built to tilt and rotates too.

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