Aurora is a concept house focusing on flexibility, sustainability, and self-sufficiency. Aurora is designed with the user in mind. Everything revolves around flexible living; focusing on the community created by the users. The layout of Aurora originates from the traditional Sìhéyuàn constructions creating a courtyard meant for outdoor living.
Aurora is a house divided into several blocks making it possible to house different constellations of users (see Figure 1). Aurora could house a nuclear family with a tenant, three generations living together or three individual couples or singles living together.
The flexible layout of Aurora contributes to social and economic sustainability, which helps improve and sustain the living standards of the users.
Aurora’s grand focus is the users and their well-being; not only socially but physically. The indoor environment of Aurora is designed to make sure that the users will live in the best possible living conditions without worrying of the outdoor air-quality. Besides the indoor environment of Aurora, the layout of the house encourages users to interact - lowering loneliness and derived health risks.
Based on the current development of household types in China, Aurora is designed to accommodate multiple household constellations. According to recent studies the nuclear family is a growing marked in China why this is the focus of the concept. The price for land and the construction cost in China is very high making it impossible for the average family to build and own their own house. The Solar Decathlon China 2021 asks for a 140 m2 house, which makes the nuclear family not seem as the perfect client. The solution to this problem is to combine families. Families living together across generations has been huge in China for centuries but has been declining over the last 10 years. And the population of singles living alone is a growing trend. To make Aurora more affordable and to mitigate solitude in the society, Aurora is designed as a 1½ house – meaning a house fitting one and a half family, creating its own community.
Aurora fits in to the suburban areas of the outskirts of Zhangjiakou. Here, in the suburban areas, most of the houses are one-story homes housing single families. The idea with Aurora is to fit in visually but introduce the concept of community living; making it possible for multiple families to live in Aurora. The targeted areas feature a vast majority of townhouses, why Aurora will be produced as a one-story building as well.
The project aims to combine the practicality and efficiency of the existing dense suburban townhouse configuration with traditional Chinese architecture, expressed through the centred courtyard amongst other aesthetic features.
The shape and design of the roof structure is an homage to traditional Chinese architecture meanwhile it utilizes sun exposure during the day and throughout the seasons of the year, in order to sustain the users without help from the national power grid. Furthermore, the roof is an incorporated part of the rainwater harvesting system, reducing the consumption of water from the regional reserves.
Sustainability is embodied through the material choices, resource consumption awareness and energy systems implemented in the house, but more importantly it is an inherent part of the lifestyle that the design promotes. The flexible layout of the house aims to utilize space and to be adaptable to the changes of family constellations throughout a lifetime.