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Alaska Beat

Winning design in Aleutian home contest nixed due to problems

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published October 10, 2012

The winning design from last year's Aleutian Housing Authority contest that challenged architects to create an affordable, net-zero energy home that adheres to strict green-building standards while being able to withstand the Aleutians' brutal climate will not be built after all, according to KUCB.

"Bottom line is we ran into some elements with the design that were problematic," Aleutian Housing Authority director Dan Duame told KUCB.

The building, called Finnesko, was conceived of by Spanish architecture firm Teller Abierto. It was designed to be a wind-powered house with an aerodynamic structure that would channel air currents in the same way as an airplane wing. It was to be built in the village of Atka, which sits on an Aleutian island about two-thirds of the way towards Asia. But problems emerged when it came time to draft construction plans.

So Aleutian Housing Authority is taking a different route -- it's developed a house based on a combination of favorite elements of the over 100 submissions, along with the design of a net-zero energy house that has already been tested in the Interior city of Fairbanks.

Construction on the resulting three-bedroom octagonal house, with a traditional roofline and wood siding, will begin in Sand Point next summer. While the venture is "risky," it's also "worth investing in," Duame told KUCB. Building costs are expected to be between $300,000 and $400,000, with the hope that utility costs will be greatly diminished in the long-run.

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