After a natural disaster, neighborhoods are fragmented and left in a lurch. For the victims, the foremost thing is getting back to their homes at the earliest and start re-building on their lost. The Battery House aims at being a self-sustaining prototype that can facilitate onsite rehabilitation as well as be used as a back-up battery to support the vernacular.
The project is housed in the historic districts of Galveston Island, in Texas. The island city has well defined historic neighborhoods with distinctive vernacular house typologies which are getting degraded at a rapid pace due to its unpredictable weather and high proximity to natural disaster. The Battery House aims to correct the vast difference in the number of abandoned vernacular homes to the ones being renovated per year.
The prototype serves as a base that can be applied to the most common vernacular housing typologies. Limitations of the rear exterior, Galveston Historic guidelines, and the commonalities found within these typologies are utilized to merge the prototype with the vernacular, in an act to preserve, restore, rehabilitate and reconstruct on site.
The Battery House, upon arrival is 120 ft2 and contains the most essential spaces of a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom. This small footprint, along with back alley access, leaves recently affected victims with an easy acquirement, distribution, and deployment process. After deployment, the Battery House square footage will double in size, 240 ft2, by adopting space from the existing vernacular homes interior. This process of increasing space will allow the Battery House to add a bedroom, and living area to the overall layout. The increasing of space will expand throughout the vernacular home as the rehabilitation process takes place, blending the Battery House into the vernacular and forming one single entity.
The shell is a lightweight cage structure made up of multiple layers of steel mesh. Inside this cage, is a system of sliding walls integrated with HVAC and electrical power. The rigidity of the exterior and the flexibility of the interior is what makes the battery house satisfy its functional and practical requirements. The foundation is a system of metal bars sliding outwards to anchor the structure into the ground at various heights to counter the uneven topography.
The Battery House is equipped with amenities and features to sustain a 72-hour disaster period independently. Solar orbs, 5-inch diameter, are laid in-between the steel mesh surfaces and affixed to the same sliding metal bars as the foundation support technology. The sloped shed roof beneath the solar orbs redirects the harvested rain water into water tanks that are integrated into the bottom of the cage structure in-between floor joists.
The shear flexibility of the battery house serves the community at large. A LED lit façade creates security and comfort at night for residents. As the most essential needs of a kitchen and a bathroom are provided, the unit can also be used as an outdoor community kitchen, thereby encouraging disaster victims to work together towards rebuilding their community.