The Gates house is across from Seattle on the shores of Lake Washington.
It was conceived as a home that typifies the Pacific Northwest’s casual style.
It’s also a place where ground-braking technology is being applied in new and fascinating ways to make the home more livable.
Innovations developed here are likely to be common features of the typical home someday.
The home is built into a hillside to minimize its presence on the site and improve its energy efficiency.
There’s a great deal of wood in the home as well as glass windows and roofs and at least 7 varieties of stone.
Most of the wood is recycled Douglas Fir that came from an 80-year old warehouse of a lumber mill that was being torn down nearby.
Most of the glass faces west over the lake to Seattle to take advantage of the sunset and Olympic mountain views.
Another key building material is silicon. A hundred microcomputers and the software that controls them
will let you experience the home without having to pay any attention to technology at its heart. Once inside,
you will wear a special pin that uniquely identifies you and connects you to the home’s electronic services,
which will automatically adapt themselves to you and your tastes. As you move through the home,
the pin that you’ve programmed allows you to hear your choice of music on the information appliance nearest you.
Even as people in their own rooms listen to their favorites.
You won’t have to miss a minute of the movie or television show you’re watching,
it can travel with you. The room temperature adjusts itself to suit your preference.
And high resolution displays will know you’re nearby and present electronic versions of your favorite art.
The lights ahead of you gradually comes on while those in the rooms you’ve left behind turn themselves off.
And if you get a phone call during your stay, only the phone nearest you rings to avoid disturbing other people.
The home does all of this for you automatically with the help of the pin you’re wearing.
Outside of the library you can see another advantage of setting the home in the hillside.
The home’s pavilions blend themselves in to the surroundings. The home is equipped with energy saving instruments as well,
so if its bright outside, the lights inside will match themselves to the brightness of the outdoors.
House temperature inside decrease when you’re asleep or not present. Of course there are manual switches just like today’s homes
to override the computer’s decisions. Although the actual living space is quite modest, larger areas like the reception hall will accommodate special events.
This rooms switches into an entertaining mode, automatically reconfiguring the lighting, room temperature, background music selection,
audio volume, and video displays. The large video wall you see is made up of large individual projection screens.
The screens can be combined to show images of artwork, computer graphics, videos, or a television programs selected from cable, video disc, or satellite.
The Gates home is a home of the future. Look for these technologies and many more like them to positively change the ways we live at home.