Instructors Lisa Tilder and Stephen Turk
The Pod House serves as a model for small-scale and sustainable living. At 130 square feet, it is designed to be a showpiece for the COSI Museum and Science Center and also be a viable home for two people. Since COSI is a children's science museum, the design is meant to be playful and approachable while simultaneously exhibiting sustainable technologies in plain sight. Solar panels, a hot-water heater, water reuse and phase change materials all reduce environmental impact, while SIPS, FSC-certified plywood and local building materials ensure that the carbon footprint is as low as possible. The form and orientation of the Pod are also optimized to ensure passive forms of energy use and an easy to understand sustainable message.
The form of the Pod follows a straightforward diagram and the iconic house shape is simply transformed based on sustainable principles. First, the pitch of the roof increases to 55 degrees to allow for maximum solar energy absorption. Next the east-facing wall is canted to allow for greater passive-heat gain. Lastly, the roof is lifted at one end to create a perspectival trick which makes the Pod look much larger, while also making space for a lofted bed.
The wood interior creates a gorgeous living space which morphs from walls to bench, to storage, shelves and bed.
The circular pattern on the floor holds phase change material which changes from solid to liquid at room temperature. When it solidifies it releases stored energy (heat) in cold temperatures and stores energy in its liquid state when the air is warmer.
The Pod has been a popular attraction at the Center of Science and Industry in Columbus, Ohio and has hopefully conveyed a message of sustainable life to a young audience in the city.