We just received information about M-22 House, a modern residence designed by Michael Fitzhugh Architect that is nestled along the top of a tall ridge overlooking West Grand Traverse Bay in Northern Michigan. This incredible dwelling has been designed with its own hydroelectric power generation, among many other wonderful green features.
From the architect: The design of the house recreates the sense of discovery felt while ascending the back of the ridge to the views revealed once at the top. The materials and spaces were inspired by the elements; water, wind, earth and fire. From each room the materials, light and a strong connection to the site is felt. The house also boasts an innovative geothermal heating and cooling systems along with its own hydroelectric power generator which uses rainwater, geothermal water and gravity to generate power for the house. A mix of concrete, steel, composite siding and large glass openings complement the clean form of the house’s exterior.
This is a truly unique structure and is a model for future sustainable design and construction methods.
Photos: Courtesy of Michael Fitzhugh Architect
Chalk Hill Off-Grid Cabin is a straw-bale getaway home for a San Francisco couple and their two active boys, located at 4,300 feet elevation in the wilds of Nevada County. Designed by Arkin Tilt Architects, the 872 square foot residence mediates the northern edge of a forest glade, with driveway access and entry against a steeper slope to the north. The entry/mudroom, bath and mechanical space are located in the wood-framed, wood-sheathed piece. One open living/dining/kitchen/bed room is half a level lower, accessing a terrace at grade, opening to the glade and sun from the south. One sleeping space is located in an open loft above the kitchen which provides additional sleeping space for kids and guests, and the other is a more intimate queen bed sized sleeping bay along the opposite edge of the living room.
The metal roofs, earth-cement on bale walls, and fire safe perimeter aim to survive a wildfire,
Solar hot water collectors provide domestic hot water as well as space heating by flowing the heated fluid first through a heat exchanger and then into tubing buried in a 3 foot bed of sand beneath the floor slabs.
Queen-sized sleeping area in bay.
P.V. Panels on the roof harvest electricity, stored in batteries at the house, powering the well pump and other domestic needs.
One sleeping space is located in an open loft above the kitchen.
Photos: Eric Millette Photography
This prefabricated cabin is comprised of only 550 square feet, built on Lake Pend Orielle near Sandpoint, Idaho. The one bedroom, one bathroom cabin was designed by FabCab and built by Selle Valley Construction, Inc, using timber frame and SIPs (structural insulated panel). SIPs, are a composite building material consisting of an insulating layer of rigid polymer foam sandwiched between two layers of structural board. FabCab designs and sells pre-fabricated environmentally-friendly homes and accessory dwelling units (ADUs). The company specializes in design for all ages and environmentally sustainable design by providing clients eco-friendly and universally designed cabins that support healthy lifestyles. There are many uses for FabCabs including a home, guest house, home office, writer’s or artist’s studio, caregiver’s residence, in-law apartment, rental unit or a cabin on a vacation property.
Exposed Fir timber frame beams and tongue and groove ceiling contrast nicely with the rich gray paint. Castle Combe wide plank flooring.
Custom floating cabinets with gray quartz counter tops and stainless subway tile backsplash.
Fir barn doors with large appliance pulls.
Custom floating cabinets with gray quartz counter tops. Brizo Trevi Cross faucet and shower head. Tierra Sol Nu Travertine “Walnut” vein-cut floor, shower and back-splash tile.
Steam shower with Brizo Trevi Cross fixtures. Tierra Sol Nu Travertine “Walnut” vein-cut tile.
Photos: Marie Dominique Verdier
With a compact form and several integrated sustainable systems, the Capitol Hill Residence in Seattle, Washington achieves the client’s goals to maximize the site’s views and resources while responding to its micro climate. The residence has been designed by Balance Associates Architects, located on a ridge with a 180 degree view of the surrounding lakes and mountains. The form of the house cantilevers off its concrete base on three sides in order to stay within the footprint of the previous house.
A majority of the glazing is located on the eastern side of the house to capture the view and to provide privacy from neighbors. The center section of the house is designed as a translucent slot to filter daylight into the core. This area serves as the main circulation space in the house and is planned to contain a translucent stair and bridge.
Sustainable systems include a rain water catchment system in the form of an entry water feature, solar panels, and solar shading in addition to our standard sustainable building practices such as high levels of insulation, low-e glazing, and selection of environmentally friendly materials.
Photos: Steve Keating Photography
The Riverhouse apartment embodies the idea of luxury and eco-friendly living in New York City designed by Thom Filicia. The LEED certified Riverhouse is a luxury high-rise that overlooks Battery Park and probably one of New York City’s “greenest” buildings. The condo is comprised of 2,500 square feet of living space with three bedrooms and two bathrooms. The entire apartment was conceptualized for empty-nesters and designed using environmentally friendly, sustainable materials such as natural fiber fabrics, FSC-certified woods, low-voc paints and wall paper glues, recycled objects and of course, antiques. Filicia designed the space to be beautiful and livable, proving that you don’t have to sacrifice style to design green.
In the living room above, the rug is made from vintage kilm runners and cut up felt. The green glass lamp is made from recycled wine bottles and the telescope in the corner is vintage.
The apartment features a fairly neutral color palette infused with organic earth tones and rich, natural textures such as the biodegradeable grasscloth wallpaper that you see throughout the space. There are a few bright spots though, such as the yellow sofa pictured here. The dining table features a paperstone tabletop and a FSC certified wood base wrapped in recycled zinc panels. The chandelier above is made from recycled jet airplane parts and the floor lamp is made from recycled plumbing parts.
The guest room walls are covered in wood pulp wallpaper with eco-friendly metallic detail. The bedside tables are made from old sewing machine stands, the lamp base is unglazed ceramic and all of the bedding is eco-friendly.
The orange bedside tables are linen sealed with a water-based lacquer. The table lamp was made from old ship’s chain. The sheets are made of naturally sustainable bamboo and even the Ecobamboo mattress, made by Magniflex, are environmentally friendly.
Many of the furnishings in the apartment were custom, such as this sectional sofa in the library which has a FSC certified birch plywood frame and cushions made of organic latex. The coffee table on the left is made from recycled aluminum.
Photos: Courtesy of Thom Filicia
Perched high upon Yeomalt Bluff, the Ellis Residence enjoys a commanding 180 degree view of Puget Sound and the Seattle skyline. The owners requested that the residence be sustainable, and the resulting design by Coates Design Architects is the first LEED Platinum home outside the city of Seattle. The owners had a special goal in mind when they decided to build a sustainable home in the beautiful surroundings of Bainbridge Island, Washington. The owners’ goal was two-fold: they wanted to prove that sustainability can be achieved without compromising a modern aesthetic design and they wanted to motivate others to follow suit.
The design limits its impact on the environment with a multitude of sustainable practices. Through implementation of geothermal, photovoltaic, solar hot water, and advanced heat-recovery technologies this 2,500 home has succeeded in reducing the energy consumption by more than 70% compared to a typical home construction. The home also makes use of rain water cisterns for irrigation of native landscaping and a vegetated roof. The project’s ecologically small footprint was not just constrained to the construction of the new house. Rather than demolishing the existing structure on the site, the team deconstructed, it effectively diverting 98% of its material from the landfill.
The home features intimate multi-use spaces that frame exceptional views of Seattle across Puget Sound. The view is best seen from the dining/living room’s large expanse of glass windows and doors that open out to a concrete patio. Another great location to capture the vistas beyond is the sunken concrete tub in the master bath and on the accessible vegetated roof. The anticipation of the owners, Ed and Joanne’s unique goal encompassed a 3 year process. This is a small price to pay when your home is a model of sustainability. Ed states it best when he describes the first morning in their home. “When I saw the sunrise with the skyline of Seattle as a backdrop the whole process was all worth it…”
There are sliding and bi-folding doors that transform smaller rooms into larger gathering spaces that can be easily connected to the outdoors. “Every room in the house serves at least two functions, and usually four or five,” said Coates.
The home’s roof became a vegetated garden patio providing a place to relax – and greater insulation.
This contemporary Montecito, California home has been designed by Maienza-Wilson Interior Design + Architecture, as a custom luxury and sustainable home that is LEED Platinum certified. The home has two floor-to-ceiling glass walls that noiselessly retract, fully opening the southwest corner of the space to the cool ocean breezes and magnificent views. Sustainable features includes radiant floor heating, icynene spray foam for insulation and a 5,000-gallon cistern located underneath the building to store rainwater to irrigate the low-water-demand garden that has been designed to complement the Zen-like feeling of the home. Flat rooftops have been planted with drought-resistant grasses to provide passive cooling. Photovoltaic solar panels are hidden from view on the butterfly roof, providing enough electricity to operate the entire home. The building and spaces have been oriented to take advantage of the natural sunlight so lights do not even have to be turned on during the day. Besides all of the green features, this home also offers spa bathrooms, wine cellar and an outdoor seating area surrounding a Zen-like fire pit.
The state-of-the-art kitchen plays an integral role in the open plan living room and dining area; retractable floor-to-ceiling glass walls extend the living room into the outdoors.
Under the floating staircase in the entryway, oversize recycled plywood “pebble” seats invite guests to sit down and remove their shoes, which reduces the amount of contaminants that are tracked throughout the house.
The pool house, clad in sustainably harvested ipe wood, provides a warm contrast to the luminous pool; floating steps line the edge of the spa.
Truro Beach House was designed for a waterfront site overlooking Cape Cod Bay, Massachusetts by Jill Neubauer Architects in collaboration with interior design firm Raymond Forehand Associates. This modern house takes advantage of stunning views while negotiating steep terrain. The house is anchored behind the top of the coastal bank, which creates a buffer from the extreme conditions of the site. Designed for LEED compliance, the house is constructed with sustainable and non-toxic materials, and powered with alternative energy systems, including geothermal heating and cooling, photovoltaic (solar) electricity and a residential scale wind turbine.
The plan is organized along the north/south axis, with living spaces pushed towards the water and service spaces lining the eastern side of the house. Additionally, the house is split along its east/west axis, with private spaces enjoying southern exposure and public spaces occupying the northern half. The rectangular footprint parallels the bluff and beach, offering expansive views from all rooms. Large sliding glass doors on either side of the house allow ocean breezes to flow through. The flat roof offers a roof-top deck with fireplace. Interior finishes include wooden walls and stone floors.
Photos: Courtesy of Jill Neubauer Architects
Urban Green is a modern single family residence that has been designed by SALA Architects in Minneapolis, Minnesota. This LEED for Homes, 2,250 square foot, three bedroom house with detached garage is nestled into a 42-foot by 128-foot infill lot in the Linden Hills neighborhood. It features an eclectic blend of traditional and contemporary elements that weave it into the existing neighborhood fabric while at the same time addressing the client’s desire for a more modern plan and sustainable living.
Passive solar heating and daylighting, natural ventilation due to the narrow building profile and open plan, high-efficiency appliances, high-efficiency dual-stage furnace, dual-flush toilets and low-flow faucets, bamboo floors, composite fiber-cement siding, shell durability walk-through, blower door-performance testing.
Photos: Troy Thies
The Yin-Yang House is a nearly net-zero single-family home in a quiet Venice, California neighborhood designed by Brooks + Scarpa Architects. The design objective was to create a space for a large and growing family with several children, which would create a calm, relaxed and organized environment that emphasizes public family space. The home is also meant to serve as a commercial office for both parents and as a place to entertain and be a welcoming space for teenagers as they seek social space with friends.
The 3, 800 square foot home is organized around a series of courtyards and other outdoor spaces that integrate with the interior of the house. Facing the street the house appears to be solid. However, behind the steel entry door is a courtyard, which reveals the indoor-outdoor nature of the house behind the solid exterior. From the entry courtyard, the entire space to the rear garden wall can be seen; the first clue of the home’s spatial connection between inside and out. These spaces are designed for entertainment, and the 50 foot sliding glass door to the living room enhances the harmonic relationship of the main room, allowing the owners to host many guests without the feeling of being overburdened.
The tensions of the house’s exterior are subtly underscored by a 12-inch steel band that hews close to, but sometimes rises above or falls below the floor line of the second floor – a continuous loop moving inside and out like a pen that is never lifted from the page, but reinforces the intent to spatially weave together as a single space the indoors with the outside space.
Scale manipulation also plays a formal role in the design of the structure. From the back, the house appears to be a single-story volume. The large master bedroom window and the outdoor steps are scaled to support this illusion. It is only when the steps are animated with people that one realizes the true scale of the house is two stories.
The kitchen is the heart of the house, with an open working area that allows the owner, an accomplished chef, to chat with friends while cooking. Bedrooms are intentionally designed to be very small and simple, to provide larger public spaces, emphasizing the family over individual domains.
The breakfast room looks across an outdoor courtyard to the guest room/kids playroom, establishing a visual connection while defining the separation of uses. The children can play outdoors while under adult supervision from the dining area or the office, or do homework in the office while adults occupy the adjacent outdoor or indoor space.
Many of the materials used, including the bamboo interior, composite stone and tile countertops and bathroom finishes are recycled, and reinforce the environmental DNA of the house, which also has a green roof. Blown-in cellulose insulation, radiant heating and a host of other sustainable features aids in the performance of the building’s heating and cooling.
The active systems in the home include a 12 KW solar photovoltaic panel system, the largest such residential system available on the market. The solar panels also provide shade from the sun, preventing the house from becoming overheated. The owners have been in the home for over nine months and have yet to receive a power bill.
Photos: John Linden