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CLIENT: NPJ partners

SITE: gently sloping mid-block site in a neighborhood where the original small single-family dwellings are being systematically replaced by Mediterranean Style duplexes that take advantage of the R2 zoning.

PROGRAM: typical (for this area) single family dwelling with PRO/dek units for 4 bedrooms, 3 baths and assorted amenities, including 4 car garage, swimming pool, and the ability to relocate the program in various configurations and locations on the site

SIZE: 2,000 sq. ft. gross

COST: $500k


NOTES: manually powered welded steel structural frame and plate enclosure mobile units on steel bridge crane track system spanning across CIP concrete and CMU garage structure. Internally, the MOMO units make use of the PRO/dek system for accommodating the program elements, which are served by conductor rails and hose reels. The MOMO units are themselves served externally by a festoon system.

PUBLICATIONS: Oz (find reference); C3 Korea 0309, no. 229

PROJECT TEXT: the structure of the typical suburban family can no longer be considered nuclear, unless by that is implied as well its fissioning. Instead, the contemporary family is as likely to be single parent, or no kids, or same sex or multi-speciated, as to be like the Cleavers of yore. Even that decreasingly typical two-parent-2.3-kid-family is more complex than the numbers alone would indicate, given the new independence of the members from each other and from the community as a whole. The single family dwelling of today must operate as much like an apartment building as a single household when all the family members are engaged in so many disparate activities at all times of the day.

In this context, to imagine the house as a machine for living is to conger a much different image than that assumed by Le Corbusier when he first captured the imagination with that phrase. While corbu chided the “eyes which do not see” for missing the potential referents in the planes and boats of his time, he never believed that buildings should intervene as actively in the affairs of their occupants as these examples, much less move like them. But then, the user groups of that age were themselves less mobile, and the expectations for housing were still satisfied by a traditional formula of fixed spaces. Flexibility, if addressed at all, was offered by arrangements of sliding panels or repositioning furniture.

The contemporary machine for living is more likely to understand those referents on a functional level, and have the means to emulate them on their own terms. Today flexibility can be achieved by repositioning more than just the furniture. This project, MOMORedondo, distributes the typical range of program components among three different MObile MOdular units, which are able to continuously reposition themselves over the length of the lot along a bridge crane track system. The MOMO units are able to link up to with each other to create closer adjacencies or larger interior spaces, or remain separate to give their occupants greater privacy and relief from family life. Each of the units is also able to tune its relationship to the exterior, represented on this lot by a pool, garage and work area, and front porch; by their arrangement on the site they are able to create larger outdoor spaces or eliminate them entirely, and allow light and air to any exposure of any of the units.

On the interior of each MOMO unit is a two-level rack of PRO/dek (US pat. no. 6526702) units, which house the actual equipment that gives the interior spaces their specific program identities. These are of course repositionable in the same way as the MOMO units, to produce or eliminate spaces as needed throughout the day in response to the complex dynamics of the twentyfirst century family’s activity schedule.