Today, when we talk about smart homes, we mean what’s been installed in the house: Internet-connected thermostats, fridges, and security systems. But Ben van Berkel of UNStudio thinks the entire structure should be designed with these devices in mind. “It should not only be the Internet of things,” he tells Fast Company. “What’s most important is that you also try to combine it in the architecture of the house. The materials of the house are smart. The energy, the machinery, the insulation is smart.”
That was his goal with the W.I.N.D. house. “You can do everything you want to do related to energy on your phone,” says van Berkel. “It’s what everyone dreams of: that you can already heat up your house by phone before you come in, you can control the energy or the lights, or start the tea.” A touchscreen can also control all the smart gadgets.
Built between 2008 and 2014, the home is located outside a Dutch village and has a flexible, open design. Pipes under the floor heat the whole house for around seven hours, and solar panels, tinted glass, and mechanical ventilation with waste heat recovery all make the structure extremely energy-efficient. “Energy consumption in this house is almost reduced down to zero,” says van Berkel.