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The Hólos House


The HólosHouseisan indigenous building for the 21st century. It benefits from the history of material and manufacturing sciences, the knowledge of geometry and structure, and the holistic integration of these disciplines. These materials and knowledge have no national sovereignty. Therefore they are indigenous to the entire planet earth. The HólosHouse is designed without being constrained by the limitations of conventional thinking and traditions. It is a true paradigm shift.

Even before the impact of global warming was understood, Peter Jon Pearce envisioned a new way to build and developed a new vocabulary for the design of building structures. The goal was to mitigate the inefficient and wasteful use of material as well as the high energy costs so pervasive in building design, construction, and life cycle performance. This new building vocabulary and method is based upon least energy principles.

Pearce’s vision led him to the study of the geometry of structure in Nature. The study included the morphological principles governing biological form and the geometries found in molecular structures. Since nature consistently follows patterns of least energy this seemed a most fruitful area of investigation. The goal of this inquiry was to develop theoretical underpinnings for a more material efficient strategy for structural, spatial, and energy optimization in building design. *

In Nature form is an agent of performance. Building design should be based on this principle. The HólosHouse is such a design. It demonstrates the effectiveness of form as an agent of performance, which is a strategy to achieve sustainability and resilience in the built environment.

* The results of this initial research is explained in Pearce’s book, Structure in Nature is a Strategy for Design, The MIT Press, 1978, 1990.

Case Study

The HólosHouse is a case study for the 21th century intended to demonstrate a sustainable and resilient alternative to conventional thinking in the building arts. Pearce plans to live in the project in order to establish the veracity of its attributes, and to document its performance. Only by living and working in the facility will it be possible to fully understand the performance of the project on a daily and seasonal basis. Once the underlying principals embodied in the project are validated and documented these principals can be applied to other types of built structures, such as commercial, single and multi-unit residential, single and multi-story buildings.

Think of the HólosHouse  as a building laboratory. It is configured as a two-story structure with residential space in the upper level and studio space in the lower level. As a prefabricated system the HólosHouse kit-of-partscan also be configured into a variety of building types. Additionally it can adapt to varied and challenging site conditions and complex topography.

Because the HólosHouse is so unique it is important to evaluate the livability and sense of well being that may be experienced within this environment. Only by building and living in the HólosHouse will it be possible to fully document and report on the viability and effectiveness of the project, as well as the joy of living there. Based on the research, design, and engineering work that has been done developing this concept there is little doubt that the HólosHouse will fulfill its promise.

The HólosHouse is a case study prototype with unprecedented new standards for the design and construction of residential and commercial buildings. It is a paradigm shift desperately needed to help reduce greenhouse gases while eliminating the dependency on fossil fuels. In addition to environmental sustainability this advanced building system, built from high performance, noncombustible materials, also offers unprecedented resilience against natural disasters, such as flooding, fires, earthquakes, and hurricane force winds. Driven by a high performance design ethic, the adoption of the principals implemented by the HólosHouse will make a significant contribution to the sustainability of the planet.