Unbuilt Vancouver: Lotus House

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Just in time for the rainy season, we investigate a project completed by Intern Architect Marissa Xi Wang during her tenure as a student at the UBC School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture (SALA).

Lotus House Concept Rendering by Marissa Xi Wang
Lotus House Concept Rendering by Marissa Xi Wang

The Lotus House was designed for a Single Family House studio in 2013 under professor Professor Blair Satterfield. Marissa describes the design:

Vancouver is a city of rain. Months of rainwater saturate the air and nourish life in Vancouver. The conventional single family house rooftop is either flat or pitched, and it repeats the monologue. How can roof forms converse with the incessant rain? By drawing from the properties of a lotus plant, and the motion of the lotus leaf, is it possible to enliven the architectural language of the roof?

A Conversation of the Lotus and the Rain:

The properties of the lotus leaf is converted into an architectural language; an energy core serves the dual purpose of a regenerator and as a water display platform. The Lotus Roof re-forms the living space: it brings light to the centre of the house and collected rain water irrigates the greenhouse inside. Beauty and function of the lotus is now within the single family home.”

The biomimicry-inspired design, while unusual in the face of Vancouver’s current single family housing stock brings into question what future generations of local architecture will look like and challenges new designers, planners, developers, and financiers to be more creative. If you are interested in Marissa and her work she can be reached at wangxi@hotmail.ca and her Instagram account is Marissa Xi Wang (@marissaxi).

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James is an architect and writer from Vancouver, British Columbia with a passion for affordable housing, public space, design, and the Pacific Northwest. James has worked on architecture projects across the lower mainland and has written for Canadian Architect, Objekt International, and Price Tags. He holds a Masters in Architecture from the John H. Daniels Faculty of Architecture, Landscape, and Design and a Bachelors of Applied Science in Civil-Structural Engineering from the University of Waterloo. James has been an AIBC architectural awards jury member, has served on UBC SALA Thesis Committee, and was awarded a special mention in the Urbanarium's Missing Middle competition. He lives in Gastown with his wife Errin, a cool optometrist responsible for his maple glasses.