more important to human civilization than shelter? It is tied up with our very
survival, but it is also part of our cultural and psychological identity.
As an artist, I have been exploring issues of housing and homelessness for many
years. Now I want to create an artwork that you can live in.
to build a prototype for a do-it-yourself kit house that draws on some of the
ideas of my sculpture practice and that addresses many of the social and
environmental problems with the housing industry. The Octagonal Living Unit (OLU) will
also make a great artist’s studio or guest house, or even replacement housing
following a natural disaster.
have re-thought a hand-made house that my wife and I built several years ago.
It isn’t a McMansion, or a singlewide or a conventional rectangular ranch
house–or a conventional rectangular anything. It’s an octagon! The proportions
of the original house, both inside and outside, are just a bit magical–luck, I guess, but it seems to appeal to lots of people. My project is to make it more widely available.
This is that original hand-made house:
have found a building panel made from steel and expanded polystyrene. I
have worked with an architect who knows the material and have re-imagined my
little octagonal house as an easy-to-assemble kit.
is inexpensive. I can’t be sure until I’ve built one, but I hope to offer
this kit for less than $25,000 and the labor costs will be far less than conventional
is eco-friendly. Houses made from this building panel are much more
energy-efficient than conventional “stick-built” houses and the slab floor serves as a heat sink if it is oriented for passive solar gain. There is virtually no waste. Construction waste accounts for a shocking
percentage of the stuff filling up our landfills. This system comes already cut. The waste is re-captured and
recycled at the factory.
is strong and safe. It's resistant to both high winds and seismic activity. The
panels have a structure of 18 and 24 gauge steel that is screwed together with
self-tapping screws and the entire structure is bolted to a concrete slab floor. The small profile and octagonal shape present far less
sail surface to oncoming winds and the integrated structure is much more
resistant to earthquake.
is easy to assemble. I designed a miniature version of this octagonal house and
asked my wife and teenaged daughter to build it. It took them about two
hours to assemble the panels on our deck.
money I raise will go toward hiring an engineer to help get the roof
structure right, and to purchasing all the materials; panels, windows, doors,
roofing, and siding. Oh, and toward producing and shipping the incentives.
of the ideas of the project is to open it up to a community of interested
people through the magic of social media. I would love to have you participate
in this project. As an incentive, I am offering to make you a Creative Producer.
You will get updates on the progress of engineering the roof and manufacturing
the panels; you can get artwork made as accompanying work to the project; and
for the really adventurous, reserve an Octagonal Living Unit kit house of your own. So please, take a look at the incentives on the right (and below) and come along for the ride.