magic box 2005

simplicity, versatility and layout consistency

Magic BoxThe Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (UPM) house proposal has been finally named MAGIC BOX. As the well- known toy, the dwelling is open to surprise, movement, continuous exploration and enjoyment. A great many layouts are possible, since a number of movable walls allow the occupant to unify or compartmentalize its interior space. Sides follow a modular scheme but each has been designed according to direction and time of solar radiation. The roof is independent of the livable volume yet preserves a compositional role, extending its appealing wavy shape to the rest of the lot.

MAGIC BOX is full of the European, Mediterranean and purely Spanish spirit. The house is characterized by simplicity, versatility, layout consistency, easy use in both the inside and the outside. Such relation with the environment not only highlights its visual and spatial aspects, but also fosters efficient consumption of materials, resources and energy, minimizing production of waste.

The building is set out to be bioclimatic to the highest degree. The term “bioclimatic” refers to the relation of climate and life, both in the natural and man-made environment. Consequently, great importance has been given to air quality and ventilation, to necessary levels of thermal comfort and humidity, to adequate distribution of temperature in the rooms.

The main features of MAGIC BOX are: passive design; the application of traditional strategies for winter and summertime, day and night, commonly used in Spanish vernacular architecture, although they are implemented by means of new technologies, materials and systems; and the rational use of architectonic elements, such as porches, greenhouses, green roofs, vegetation, eaves, louvers, sliding panels, and even a “folding” patio. All of these are employed to manage comfort conditions, light and air quality, to control solar penetration, ventilation and thermal storage, as well as to define formal composition and to treat light and color. Electricity comes from photovoltaics and heat accumulation is made possible through passive or active solar heating from collectors and free cooling at night in the summer. All indoor devices are operated through an integrated domotic system.

set of outside images from the 'magic box'. From left to right: south east façade, front detail, moving window detail with sight of the living room)
Magic Box Magic Box in Washington

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3d Magic Box assembly

This video shows the assembly of the magic box structure.