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shaft house


Project Team: Ali Malek, Reza Aliabadi

Construction: Urbanline

Photography: Borxu Design

Lot Size: 20' x 100'

Living Area: 1,500 sq. ft

Design: 2009

Completion: Summer 2010

Shaft House is a project pertaining to the urban-regeneration and aesthetic rejuvenation through low-cost building strategies. Slightly in contrast with its immediate surroundings, it nevertheless, subtly resides in a camouflage of the neighborhood through appropriate use of materials and building techniques.
This house negotiates between the vernacular and the contemporary. Shaft House attains the objective of creating an economically efficient, sustainable
and responsive housing design through function and innovation.


The structure of the house revolves around a central shaft, which is open to all levels of the house and lit by a skylight and south facing windows; this allows for natural ventilation and maximizes air circulation. Through this method, this 16-foot wide project manages to be innovative in its formal complexity and spatial configuration while respecting all the city bylaws. Materials employed (rusted steel, aluminum, and untreated wood) are more sustainable than those used traditionally (brick, shingle, and stone, etc.) As the building ages, these organic materials age along with it and the house eventually blends into the vernacular oeuvre of the neighboring dwellings. The materials also provide efficiency and sustainability through maintaining ideal lighting situations and heating conditions. The openness of the south façade allows for the optimal intake of natural light during day hours while the implementation of the rusted steel on the north façade operates dually to insulate the climate conditions of the interior (heat), and, simultaneously, prevents the emission of excessive sound from the street within the interior.

The innovative and economical aspect of the project were accommodated to meet our client need and concerns. The urgency of revitalization is emphasized through raising social awareness and urban expectation, and in due time this process of re-urbanization will encourage and attract the “young professional” and widen the distribution of socio-economic opportunities.

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