The Mouse House is a small design/build project that was done in the framework of an architecture seminar on concrete. The Mouse House is part of series of “play-follies” along a nature trail for the Jowonio Primary School, a not-for-profit pre-school, serving young children with special needs. The project was done under the umbrella Freedom by Design.
The aim of the project was to find and test new fabrication methods rooted in conventional construction technologies and methods but liberated from the myth of their norm. These methods give an insight into how construction can participate in the complexity of today’s tension between the built environment and its surrounding ecologies and create new architectural expressions for objects that ‘recognize and celebrate the finitude as a condition of the human being’ (Hayles, N. Katherine). Concrete is simultaneously one of the oldest yet most current construction materials being used today for its capacity for long-spans and high ductility. Its structural capacity is the underpinning of modern society, whether it is used for buildings, roads or dams. In many ways concrete is a material of contrasts: liquid and solid, continuous and modular, massive and filigree.
The mouse house reflects this contrast by the superposition of the fabrication of the exterior form through the use of a CNC milled formwork on the exterior and an interior formwork made from hay bales covered with a mud-straw mixture, combining one of the most current methods of fabrication with traditional composite construction methods. The form and size of the Mouse House is based on the need for autistic children to find a space to hide and feel sheltered. The texture of the outside pattern and the roughness of the interior surface with its imprints of leaves and twigs offer different sensations for autistic children who best understand the world through haptic sensations.
Prof. Sinead Mac Namara
Thomas Bostwick, Josh Bransky, Hasan Hachem, Samantha Hinz, Elvira Ibragimova, Dong Hyun Kim, Keenan Kline, Su Ho Lee, Mengdan Liu, Peter Martin, Sai Prateek Narayan, Fayad Shahim, Mark Sousa, Jeffrey Stewart, Noopur Sura, Ran Yue
Master Plan Jowonio Nature Trail:
Freedom by Design (Faculty Advisor: Prof. Larry Bowne and Prof. Sinead Mac Namara)