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Manifesting Sustainability

Thursday, August 28th, 2014

Photo by Antonio Corcuera

By Sam Willett

James & Mau, the namesake firm founded in 2007 by Jaime Gaztelu and Mauricio Galeano, is best known for its architectural experimentation with oversized maritime containers—shaping modern juggernauts that hold an industrial and simplistic beauty into effective and sustainable designs. One of their most celebrated projects—the Manifesto House in Curacaví, Chile—was created with such materials but surpasses the duo’s past designs with prefabricated modular elements. The project was completed for Infiniski, the architecture and construction company founded by James & Mau that focuses on alternatives to traditional architecture through ecological, low-cost projects with a quick turnaround.

“Form follows energy” served as a motto for developing this “natural ventilation system,” as Raquel Izurzu, an architect on the project, likes to call it. The Manifesto House is dependent on bioclimatic architecture for its energy-based needs, making its form and positioning essential. Although James & Mau’s other homes maintain an industrial appearance, this “living” product wears translucent wood-fenced siding to allow in as much light as possible. When it is in need of warmth, solar-heating covers—its second skin—encapsulate the house from its walls and roof.

This process also is facilitated by rapidly renewable “cellulose and cork insulation, eco-label ceramics, recycled aluminum, ecological painting, and noble wood from sustainable forests”—all non-pollutants that result in a positive impact.

As architecture with soul, the Manifesto House is an important piece in Infiniski’s legacy—one that inspires those who see it to contribute to the world’s sustainability.

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