2001, the Austrian architecture and design firm AllesWirdGut ("everything
will go well," in German) has sought to explore less conventional
ideas of housing. Invited to participate in a young-designer's exhibition
on living space in Vienna, the five-person firm began to rethink
the idea of housing, ridding themselves of the typical blueprint
of a ceiling, floor, and 4-walled structure. "We wanted something
that was not only new but that would also be interactive and fun
for the audience of the exhibition," explains architect Herwig
AWG came up with was the housing concept called "TurnOn."
It originated from scenes in the film 2001: A Space Odyssey
mixed with a desire to be as forward-thinking as the automotive
industry. Spiegl states, "Carmakers join networks and share
ideas, and because of that they have been able to make advances
to create cars that at one time would be considered science-fiction'
into a reality. But in the field of architecture, we rarely collaborate
on new ideas and designs, and we are still using old ideas. We use
the same parameters for housing that we did a thousand years agoplane
floors surrounded by edged corners." Straying from this configuration,
AWG envisioned a more compact and more circular plan.
first glance, TurnOn is reminiscent of a human-size hamster wheel.
The arrangement would consist of several revolving modules linked
together. Each module's interior would be outfitted for a specific
room or function, such as a kitchen, bedroom, or exercise room.
The wheel literally turns, and as the positioning of the module
changes, so does its function. Spiegl explains, "For instance,
while cooking, the couch becomes the ceiling, the dining table a
wall." The Wet Cell, as AWG refers to it, is the module that
would house the bathroom, including the toilet, shower, and bath.
One would simply rotate the module to utilize one of the facilities.
automotive industry's ability to prefabricate, mass-produce, and
tailor its products for customers could be realized in the fabrication
of TurnOn. "Just like customizing a car, the buyer could customize
and accessorize to their own tastes and price range. Colors can
be chosen, accessories such as flat-screen monitors could be added,"
says Spiegl, "and the modules could be arranged in infinite
idea has struck a chord in the architectural community and the general
public. Since the first exhibition in Vienna, TurnOn has been featured
in other showcases, including Archilab in Orleans, France, and the
Vitra Design Museum in Berlin. Both home owners and club owners
have made inquiries into having TurnOn installed as a functional,
albeit irreverent, discussion piece. Spiegl is aware that TurnOn
is a slightly far-fetched concept, but he stresses, "TurnOn
is based on a very serious idea. Everyone talks about revolutionizing
the way we live. There is definitely room to compromise between
the housing being created now and what we propose." Randi Greenberg