Orienting a house to take advantage of the weather is always a challenge to architects, especially in an age when architects are driven by clients to include active and passive solar electricity, heating and cooling in the design.
After hearing a neighbour lamenting a wrong decision about the placement of his house, Australian engineer Luke Everingham was inspired by his wife’s remark: ‘How about a house that moves?’
The result was this practical design – an octagonal house that turns to follow the sun or to catch the breeze. And it cost no more to build than a conventional house of the same size and quality.
Powered by two washing machine-sized electric motors, the speed and pattern of the rotation is computer-controlled. With its extensive roof area, the house could be adapted to be fully solar-powered.
Attractive as the idea may be, it isn’t the first of its kind. George Bernard Shaw had a hand-cranked rotating study in his garden in the 1930s and similar structures were used much earlier than that in the treatment of tuberculosis in the days before antibiotics when fresh air and sunlight were the preferred treatment.