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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
   AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2007 awards -> Hela House

       NEVADA AIA DESIGN AWARDS 2007        


Entry number: OC07030
Project Name: Hela House
Building Type: Miscellaneous – Urban Design
Completion Date: N/A
Architect: PGAL, LLC

Sustainability Description

Narrative/Project Description:
The starting point for this project was to explore the possibilities of replicating a single cellular object to create a group of spaces and voids which together create a dwelling, but to also explore the need for each dwelling to relate to a larger community.

The HeLa Cell is known in the field of stem cell research as an immortal cell since it was the first human cell to live and reproduce indefinitely outside the body (the original cells taken from their namesake, Henrietta Lacks in 1951 are still alive today and are used throughout the world for all kinds of cellular and medical research). The HeLa cell is a metaphor for a cellular approach to knitting back together the fabric of a city through higher density and urban infill. The proportions of simple shipping containers were used as the cellular module that informs everything in the design from rooms to courtyards to community & borrowed outdoor spaces. This cellular/modular approach is a highly efficient means to integrate dignified and healthy affordable housing with the critical aspects of sustainability and maximum flexibility.

Dr. Gey had spent almost 30 years collecting cancerous human cells and trying to make them grow, but until Ms. Lacks came along, they never did. Though Henrietta died a few months after her radium treatments, her cells are still living today. Henrietta's cells - named HeLa after the first letters in Henrietta and Lacks -became the first human cells to live indefinitely outside the body. They helped eradicate polio, flew in early space shuttle missions and sat in nuclear test sites around the world. In the 50's, HeLa cells helped researchers understand the differences between cancerous and normal cells, and quickly became a standard laboratory tool for studying the effects of radiation, growing viruses and testing medications. HeLa is still one of the most widely used cell lines; in fact, this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded for research in which '-leLa cells played a pivotal role.


Sustainability Description:
Higher density allows for more common ownership space such as a community center with neighborhood pool, gardens play areas, and visiting guest rooms (to minimize need for extra bedrooms in each home).

designed for urban infill site near public transportation, shopping, and job centers shared' outdoor rooms with low walls
site sidewalks and pathways between houses encourage walking, bicycling, interaction single-car garages or carports accessed through rear alley to open up front yard to community minimized hardscape to counter heat island effect

Bioclimatic Design:
houses oriented for maximum solar access & control (long axis E-W) east and west glazing is minimized
solar control devices designed for each elevation
tight building envelope with modular insulated panels and high performance windows

Light and Air:
operable high-low windows for cross ventilation
bare/natural or low toxicity interior finishes
controlled daylighting to all occupied rooms; views to courtyard, community spaces Low-VOC paints, adhesives

Water Conservation:
desert/native Mojave landscaping
community graywater treatment for use in landscaping, flushing toilets pervious paving
community swimming pool

maximized daylight minimizes need for artificial lighting
high efficiency evaporative coolers cut energy by 60%
residents could upgrade to PV systems and solar hot water as their household budget allows

Recycled shipping containers as primary structural, decking system
recycled decking, high recycled content metal and cementitious siding
high albedo metal `cool' roofing
recycled or locally produced/quarried materials

Long life, Loose fit:
modular construction allows for vertical expansion
may be converted easily to mixed use retail, boutique services for low income home businesses or artist studios



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Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos

These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:03 PST