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UNLV Libraries Main Page -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections -> Las Vegas Architects and Buildings Database -> Projects

Hela House

Photos & Links: (Web Page 1)
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Building Materials: 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
Architectural Elements: Community: 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). Site: 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 Energy: 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 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
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.
Extra Note: AIA Nevada Design Awards (2007) Entry No. OC07030, Submission.
UNLV Architecture Studies Library holds: Form Core Boards, Project Identification Form, Photo Release Form, Intern Compensation Disclaimer Form, Project Entry Form, Exteriors Photos, Site Plan, Floor Plans, Interior Photos and CD