NJIT architect designs award-winning house that looks like an igloo

Jun 05, 2012
NJIT architect Matt Burgermaster's ice house was designed as a snow-belt residence for Buffalo in Western New York state. Credit: Matt Burgermaster, NJIT

An NJIT College of Architecture and Design (COAD) architect who designed an "ice house," reminiscent of an igloo, has received yet another award for his unique residence. The 2012 Association of Collegiate Schools of Architecture awards program recently feted NJIT Assistant Professor Matt Burgermaster's design for "Ice Cycle House," a prefabricated "green" residential prototype by featuring the house in its annual book Architectural Education Awards 2011-2012.

Judges said that Burgermaster's project "takes an everyday occurrence, such as the thawing and freezing of roof drain water and elevates it through an artistic and performative design response. The underlying thermodynamic research is used as a synthetic departure point to generate an informed and innovative architecture."

This is not the first time peers have touted Burgermaster's design. In 2010, the Journal of Architecture Education featured the house as one of four innovative designs by architecture faculty engaged in research-based practice. The project also received a professional design award from the American Institute of Architects (2009) and in (2010) was presented at the International Conference on the Constructed Environment in Venice, Italy.

"Its exterior envelope design consists of uniquely multi-functioning components that re-imagine the performative capacity of conventional drainage and ventilation strategies," said Burgermaster, who originally designed the house as a snow-belt residence for Buffalo, in Western New York State, and as a site-specific building solution for sustainable living in northern climates.

Beyond being inspired by the natural flows of ice, Burgermaster also likes concrete for sustainability. To those ends, he is involved with the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI) Architectural Studio at NJIT and recently highlighted Thomas Edison's architectural achievements as designer of one of the nation's first concrete houses. In his 2011 presentation to the Society of Architectural Historians, he illustrated how Edison invented and patented in 1917 an innovative construction system to mass produce prefabricated and seamless concrete houses. Most people associate this style of architectural design and type of building technology with the European avant-garde of the early 20th century.

Edison houses remain standing in towns surrounding West Orange, the location of Edison's factory, now a national historic park. The park even features a prototype concrete house. "Edison's one-of-a-kind system was patented for the purpose of building a single, repeatable structure without any parts, with a single act of construction," said Burgermaster.

Burgermaster analyzed Edison's invention of a single-pour system for concrete construction as a novel application of this material's dynamic behavior and speculated on its role in the development of a type of integrated building technology that, perhaps inadvertently, also invented the idea of a seamless architecture. Originally motivated by the objective of providing a cost-effective prototype for the working-class home, this early experiment in mass-production was one of Modernism's first attempts to construct a building with a single material.

Edison's 1917 patent proposed a building-sized mold that leveraged the intrinsically dynamic capacity of concrete to form itself into a variety of shapes and sizes, limited only by the design of its framework. The invention's potential efficiencies resided in the distribution of this material as a continuous flow through an entire building instead of being confined to the prefabrication of its constituent parts. Burgermaster said that "this historical example continues to be a forward-thinking approach to the integration of building design and construction, a source of inspiration for my own work, and hopefully for others involved in the creation of a more sustainable built environment."

Explore further: PsiKick's batteryless sensors poised for coming 'Internet of things'

More information: For more information, please visit www.njit.edu/news/2011/2011-215.php

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

MIT tool may reveal architectural past

Mar 08, 2006

A computer design tool originally created for animation may soon unlock the secrets of the structure of ancient cathedrals, according to MIT Assistant Professor John Ochsendorf of architecture.

Getting wrapped up in solar textiles

Jun 09, 2008

Sheila Kennedy, an expert in the integration of solar cell technology in architecture who is now at MIT, creates designs for flexible photovoltaic materials that may change the way buildings receive and distribute ...

Green homes use 80 per cent less energy

Apr 05, 2012

Clever, inexpensive design can cut the energy used in new homes by up to 80 per cent, says a Queensland University of Technology (QUT) researcher.

Recommended for you

Lifting the brakes on fuel efficiency

14 hours ago

The work of a research leader at Michigan Technological University is attracting attention from Michigan's Governor as well as automotive companies around the world. Xiaodi "Scott" Huang of Michigan Tech's ...

Large streams of data warn cars, banks and oil drillers

Apr 16, 2014

Better warning systems that alert motorists to a collision, make banks aware of the risk of losses on bad customers, and tell oil companies about potential problems with new drilling. This is the aim of AMIDST, the EU project ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

hyongx
5 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2012
Raise your hand if you want to live in a solid concrete house.
Vendicar_Decarian
1 / 5 (1) Jun 05, 2012
I have dreamed about living in a solid concrete house for decades.

The house in the image looks nothing like an igloo.

More news stories

LinkedIn membership hits 300 million

The career-focused social network LinkedIn announced Friday it has 300 million members, with more than half the total outside the United States.

Researchers uncover likely creator of Bitcoin

The primary author of the celebrated Bitcoin paper, and therefore probable creator of Bitcoin, is most likely Nick Szabo, a blogger and former George Washington University law professor, according to students ...

Impact glass stores biodata for millions of years

(Phys.org) —Bits of plant life encapsulated in molten glass by asteroid and comet impacts millions of years ago give geologists information about climate and life forms on the ancient Earth. Scientists ...