Virginia Tech FutureHAUS finds new home after fire

BLACKSBURG (WSLS 10) – When it comes to the fire that destroyed the Prices Fork Research Station where Virginia Tech students built the FutureHAUS, project leader Joe Wheeler isn’t looking back.

“We will not look back, not for a second,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler, a professor of architecture and the co-director of the Center for Design Research, is looking forward to rebuilding and doing so in a new space.

“This space is ideal because it’s central to the campus,” he said.


The team will move and work inside a space in the Institute for Creativity, Arts and Technology (ICAT) inside the Moss Arts Center, located on the corner of Main Street and Alumni Mall on campus.

“The best research is research that involves interdisciplinary work and students from all majors working together. That’s the whole concept of ICAT,” Wheeler explained.

It’s where he said students in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies will rebuild, better than before, the prototypes for the next kitchen and bathroom of the FutureHAUS for their next competition in 2018.

“FutureHAUS has many legs, it has many branches.”

Described as a “revolutionary prototype for the home of the future, offering a stunning preview of how digital technologies, cutting-edge products, and smart building design will unite to make our homes more responsive to our future needs and way of living,” FutureHAUS focuses on concepts from construction and manufacturing to aging in place and accessibility using technology. The next project, after the fire, Wheeler explained, will address another concept as well.

“It’s going to be fire safety. CO2, fire alarm, alert,” he said. “Can we determine if there’s going to be a fire right before the fire even happens,” he explained.

He’ll use the devastation to drive home another important feature for the future, one that perhaps allows for home monitoring and alerts when it comes to safety.

“Not only could it alert you with a text message or an email but it also could shut a safety feature that could shut it down before an accident happens.”

There are possibilities for the future and FutureHAUS.

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