One of the most interesting architectural feats we’ve had a chance to see this year is Karim Rashid’s “Komb” house in Cairo, which is a testament to both green living and futuristic aesthetics. Rashid made sustainability a priority when building the house, including solar-heated water, energy efficient appliances, highly efficient LED strip lighting and raised radiant flooring. He even integrated permaculture techniques into its design, including a system that harvests and reuses rainwater and grey water.
The house itself is a self-supporting, modular dwelling that can be easily broken down and rebuilt, or reused in a different fashion. To achieve the fluid, amorphous shape of the home’s exterior shell, Rashid placed reclaimed wooden fins at different angels. This structural pattern is repeated inside the dwelling as well, creating a uniquely private yet open floor plan. The overlapping fins allow those inside to enjoy sunlight and visibility, while those outside the dwelling can’t see much of the inside.
The interior of the house is separated into spaces that represent four important daily human activities: playing/working, eating, sleeping and bathing. According to Design Boom, “the central space draws on Islamic patios, featuring an oasis with a skylight and a center plunge pool. The skylight opening controls the house’s temperature. When open, it captures rainwater, which is filtered by the pool. A kinetic art sculpture levitates above, rotating to capture wind power and to distribute energy throughout the home.”
In the bathroom, there’s a floating, edge-lit mirror, illuminated with LED recessed fixtures. The mirror also houses a TV that the user can watch when turned on, but is invisible when turned off. The shower even features a glass screen that contains a digital, “technorganic” art piece.
In a house like this, you’d have to expect a “Jane Jetson” to come around the corner and ask if you’ve had your food pill for lunch! But suffice to say, the Komb house provides an interesting look at a current architectural trend focusing on sustainability and modular design, and potentially a glimpse into the future of housing.