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Sci-fi-worthy homes of the future

Bethany Lyttle

For most, the word “house” conjures images of rectangular dwellings with front porches and chimneys. Front lawns and garages too. But fast forward a few hundred years and the traditional four walls and a roof won’t be standard housing fare, according to urban experts. Climate change, population growth and geo-political shifts are already redefining the way we look at residential spaces of the future.

“The only path forward is to harness solar, wind and water for power and to use the power of computers to design, build and maintain homes,” says Victor Vetterlein, an architect residing in New York City.

To this end, Vetterlein conceived of a self-sufficient, eco-friendly dwelling called Reboot. Curvy and smooth on the outside, its futuristic aesthetic includes an elliptical glass elevator encircled by a white stairway with glass handrails, high-gloss floors and a change-able floor-plan. Wind turbines and batteries supply the home’s power, taking into account a predicted shortage of fossil fuels.

But as futuristic as Reboot may look, Vetterlein says it’s not nearly as “out there” as it seems. While its smooth-and-shiny surface and stem-like base may look like something out of Japanese Anime, most of the technology that would make it possible already exists.

For Chad Mitchell, architect and founder of Meridian 105 Architecture, a project called Weave Housing came about to address housing issues that include energy efficiency in a changing climate, affordability in a struggling economy and quality of craftsmanship in an evolving marketplace. The woven design of the multi-family project creates pockets of shade to keep the building cool, and these pockets double as balconies for residents.

The following five futuristic homes might sound far-fetched now, but as architect Chad Mitchell reminds us, even the most science-fiction-seeming homes are “… often grounded in logic and even feasible from a construct-ability standpoint.” Architects and urban planners can’t pinpoint exactly when these concepts will become necessary–it all depends on how economic and geographic factors play out–but they’re confident the most effective ideas will rise to the top.

Tornado-Proof Home

Ted Givens, an architect with Hong Kong's 10Design, created this prototype for a tornado-safe home. Hydraulic levers pull the Kevlar-coated house into the ground when high-velocity winds pass by. The high-tech structure's roof then locks so water and wind can't enter. Once the weather clears, the house unfolds and residents resume normal life.

NEXT: A smooth, self-powered home that looks built by Apple.

Reboot Home

Designed by New York City’s Victor Vetterlein, this POD house is completely computer-controlled to maximize energy efficiency and comfort. Every inch of its exterior surface acts as a solar energy collector. A wind-powered elevator and water-treatment plant are included and the rooftop collects rainwater that is stored in holding tanks. Natural air-flow is provided via vents that residents operate themselves.

NEXT: Live next to a park in the sky.

Sky Terra Towers

Living in cities is rarely a green experience but San Francisco-based designer Joanna Borek-Clement has come up with a sky-scraping solution. The neuron-like collection of towers she designed would reach elevations of 1,600-feet and would be inter-dependent, each structure supporting the others. People would reach the amphitheaters, pools, fields and parks via elevators from the street. The design was conceived with Tokyo in mind.

NEXT: Future apartment building, or Lego project?

Weave House

Inspired by a child’s loom toy, the woven facade of this mixed-use building is designed for passive energy use. Prefabricated units lock together to form apartments. The overhang of each unit provides shade. Easy—and very quick—to build, the structure arrives from a factory in dozens of parts. Once on site, the pieces are hoisted into place. The concept was designed by Meridian105 Architects of Denver, Colo.

NEXT: A space-age home where you can float upstairs.

Moon Villa

Designed by Royal Haskoning Architechten in Nijmegen, Netherlands, this transparent home concept was designed for lunar living. It has no stairs, since the moon's low-gravity would allow residents to float or bound from one level to the next. The house has enormous rotating shades that regulate the extreme temperatures of outer space. An underground bunker is also included in the design, just in case a dangerous solar storm should arise.

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