Detailing the Sobek House
by Victoria Ballard Bell, with Patrick Rand
The glass-and-steel R128 House is located on a steeply sloped site with panoramic views of Stuttgart, Germany. Although this house seems sterile and completely transparent, it is a home where comfort and privacy issues for the inhabitants have been met. It is a completely recyclable, emission-free, energy self-sufficient building.
The house has no interior doors, switches, or interior walls. All appliances and environmental systems are controlled by motion sensors and voice commands, while aluminum ceiling panels hide the lighting fixtures and air vents. Electric power comes from the solar photovoltaic panels on the roof.
This is an experimental house designed by Werner Sobek, a professor of engineering and architecture at the University of Stuttgart who is also the head of the Institute for Lightweight Structures and Conceptual Design in Stuttgart, as well as the owner and principal of an engineering company, Werner Sobek Engineering & Design.
The design resulted from his desire to have an all-glass house with unencumbered views of the surrounding city and countryside that would also employ contemporary engineering concepts for sustainable buildings.
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This article is excerpted from Materials for Design by Victoria Ballard Bell, with Patrick Rand, copyright © 2006, with permission of the publisher, Princeton Architectural Press.