If you’re living in Southern California where the sun shines 300 days a year, the majority of your time will be spent outdoors. According to Tyler Zalmanzig, a recent graduate who received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from University of Southern California (USC), even the campus is a fun and laid-back environment where students and faculty host weekly outings from going to the beach to hiking the hills of Malibu. When the Solar Decathlon, a competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy, approached, their light-hearted friendship, familiarity, unique lifestyles and department bond at USC helped them create fluxHome™--a flexible home that specializes in catering to different lifestyles while keeping environmental, cultural and economic factors in mind. Designing and building a fully-functioning home that is energy-efficient, affordable and appealing could be a challenge.
Construction Manager and Site Superintendent Zalmanzig says “Speaking on behalf of the team, I think it’s fair to say that it is one of the most challenging and gratifying educational experiences that we participated in […] the house is modest in size [but] the scope and breadth of the project is staggering.” From the research, design, building, to the marketing stages etc. more than a 100 undergraduate and graduate students have participated in some aspect of fluxHome™--collaborating the works of School of Architecture, Viterbi School of Engineering, Cinema Arts, Marshall School of Business, Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism and the Rossier School of Education, all educational departments at USC. Aiming to create flexibility and adaptability in fluxHome™ Zalmanzig says, “Our mission is to develop a new, efficient model for suburban/urban dwelling, one that celebrates the temperate southern California climate by blurring the boundaries between indoor and outdoor environments.” He continues to say “the goal is to produce a more active engagement with our environment as opposed to the passive one that typifies most suburban living. The NanaWall system facilitates this goal by literally allowing the entire ten-foot front window wall to open to the outdoors.” He further states that the NanaWall operable glass wall system is a key feature of fluxHome™ and without it they would fail to accomplish and indoor/outdoor living experience.