michael jantzen's 'm-house' is a radical retreat with multiple configurations

michael jantzen's 'm-house' is a radical retreat with multiple configurations

‘m’ stands for modularity in this vintage project shared by architect and artist michael jantzen. the ‘m-house’ was conceived 24 years ago as a small vacation home for two in southern california. the radical retreat was based on concepts of prefabrication, modularity, and self-sufficiency. 

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

images courtesy of michael jantzen

 

 

m-house formed part of jantzen‘s personal explorations into the reinvention of architecture, specifically prefabricated architecture. he wanted to create a prefab system with a great deal of flexibility in terms of its modularity. the goal was to invent a system of components, made out of a variety of materials, that could be assembled and disassembled many times over into different sizes and shapes, accommodating diverse functions.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

the structure could be assembled into multiple configurations

 

 

jantzen also wanted to create a prefabricated system that merged art and architecture into an aesthetically exciting series of structures. the structures also had to have the potential of being very eco-friendly, and easily adaptable to the use of alternative energy systems such as wind and solar.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

m-house was made of painted steel and painted concrete composite panels

 

 

the final m-house comprised a kit of parts primarily made from painted steel and concrete composite panels made of cement and wood fiber. these materials were selected for their fire resistance to build the first prototype as it was to be assembled on property the architect owned in the grass-covered hills of southern california.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

all of the slotted hinged panels could easily be removed and/or folded in different ways to change the shape and function of the structure

 

 

the entire structure sat onto a bolted steel frame equipped with self-leveling support legs, attached to footpads that were anchored to the ground. there was a matrix of steel square tubes that formed seven large open cubes, which were bolted onto the support legs.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

view of a solar and wind pod to generate electricity; it could also collect and store rainwater for use in the house

 

 

some of the concrete composite panels were attached to the steel frame as flooring while others were attached to secondary steel support frames, which were connected to some of the cubes with loose pin hinges. loose pin hinges were used so they could be easily removed to other parts of the open support cubes, and/or folded in different ways to change the shape of the structure in order to accommodate changing needs of the inhabitants.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

view under the m-house exterior canopy

 

 

the hinged panels formed open-air exterior spaces around a central core of interior enclosed spaces. those enclosed spaces were formed with insulated painted steel panels that were bolted onto some of the open support frame cubes. some of those insulated panels contained glass windows, doors, and wiring and plumbing.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

the exterior canopy allowed for shaded outdoor space

 

 

in all cases, the panels could be detached from the cube support frames and the configuration of the cube frames, along with the configuration of the floor support frame could be changed to accommodate changing site-specific needs. a large model of m-house was featured in a major exhibition in 2008 at the museum of modern art in new york called, home delivery: fabricating the modern dwelling.

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

interior view of the m-house vacation retreat

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

interior view at first floor level

michael jantzen's 'm-house' is a radical retreat with multiple configurations

bedroom view

michael jantzen's 'm-house' is a radical retreat with multiple configurations

interior view of the second level of the m-house

michael jantzen's 'm-house' is a radical retreat with multiple configurations

drawing of the support frames

michael jantzen's m-house is a radical retreat with multiple configurations designboom

drawing of the support frames with some of the slotted hinged and insulated panels attached

 

 

project info:

 

name: m-house

architect: michael jantzen

 

designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.

 

edited by: lynne myers | designboom

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