Addressing the future of kitchens, a group of students and professors from the Virginia Tech Center for Design Research created a new concept that may define the way homes are built down the road. The kitchen shown at KBIS is the first phase of a three-year plan to construct a two-story FutureHAUS.
Many of the most high-tech and common achievements of the 21st century are factory made and assembled fluidly as one piece – like cars or televisions. Why are kitchens still being built piece-by-piece on site rather than as a few modular pieces? The idea behind FutureHAUS suggests a modular housing system that will let buyers select ready-made pieces that combine into condominiums.
In some sense, kitchens are already being made this way. Islands can be made as one large piece and placed easily in the center of a kitchen. Currently, the industry has not moved past cabinets made from smaller modules. If they were created in larger pieces, cabinets would be stronger and have fewer issues. This also has potential for solving humanitarian crises; if a mass amount of homes were destroyed, these modular, prefabricated homes could be readily available and easily transportable.
From the appliance end, the connectivity of the home is inevitable. The group predicts this change will come in the next few years. In the FutureHAUS model, sensors keep track of everything from how much milk is left in the fridge to how much detergent should go in the dishwasher. Four large LCD displays make up the backsplash and a social table. Every appliance also has a touchscreen app. According to the designers, the FutureHAUS will adapt to owners’ needs and automatically will adjust temperature, lighting, security, etc., based on voice recognition, motion and touch.
The next phase of the FutureHAUS design process is the addition of a living room alongside the kitchen, which will debut at the American Institute of Architects national convention from May 14-16, 2015, in Atlanta.