Autonomous House

Château La Coste, Aix-en-Provence, France. 2019 – ongoing

The Norman Foster Foundation is developing the design for the Autonomous House at Château La Coste.

In 1982, Norman Foster and Buckminster Fuller collaborated on the design for an experimental, sustainable dwelling prototype house. Form from two concentric geodesic domes that rotated independently, the Autonomous House could be reoriented allowing the structure’s glazed portions to track the sun during the day and the solid elements to fully close at night. This innovative, mobile approach to harnessing natural sunlight and radiant energy is complemented by the circulation of warm or cool air between the two skins, offering an internal microclimate and significant energy savings. Worked on the project ceased after Fuller’s passing in 1983.

The development of this visionary project has been revisited and advanced by the Norman Foster Foundation (NFF) as a new structure designed for the grounds of Château La Coste. Adding to the estate’s renowned collection of art and architecture, the updated Autonomous House will act as a showcase for innovative materials, environmental technologies and sustainable design while honouring the work of Foster and Fuller’s fruitful collaboration. This year, the schematic design for the Autonomous House was completed, complementing ongoing research by the NFF into technologies that can enable the structure to achieve full autonomy in terms of energy, water, sanitation and food.