The Orcas Island Home is a contemporary prefab home design with 1,828 square feet of living space by FabCab, located on Orcas Island, the largest of the San Juan Islands, Washington. This two bedroom, two bathroom + den home home showcases major curb appeal with a reverse shed extension over the front door. The architects build eco-friendly homes, this particular one is their TimberCab home, which features Douglas Fir timberframes, including their premium level of finish. Their timeberframes and wall/roof panels have been pre-cut with state of the art technology and a licensed contractor labels the homes as an efficient build at the site. Their home packages are devised with flexibility in mind and can be shipped to most building sites.
The architects created a welcoming entryway into this rustic home, which opens to full on water views from across the room.
This beautiful open plan living room/kitchen/dining room offers a large expanse of windows to filter in plenty of natural light and offers spectacular water views. The home is nestled on a wooded landscape that helps to offer privacy and a welcoming country escape for the homeowners.
The porcelain tiling in the bathroom is from American Olean.
The beautiful furnishings featured on the deck were curated from Costco and Wayfair.
Photos: Dale Lang
Nautical Lines is a nautical themed eco-friendly waterfront house with large expanses of fenestration to maximize the views, designed by Greg Shand Architects, located in Singapore. This modern residence offers a sinuous wave envelope with large overhangs which helps to provide shading from the hot east and west sunshine, opening to both the north and south. Reminiscent of a boat hull, the underside of the ceiling has been clad in recycled teak. There is plenty of natural cross ventilation provided from the sliding glass doors, which the owner’s open to allow fresh breezes from the water to flow throughout. To reduce solar heat gain, recycled timber has been used for the external decking.
Description from the architects:
Extensive low-e glazing affords views of the waterway to the North and South China Sea to the South. Where a view has not been offered from the ocean, the walls and built-in elements of the spaces are curved to offer a contiuous reminder of the seafront context of the home. As an example, the master bathroom walls are flowing curves with a shaded skylight over to afford views of the sky and curved roof above.
The walls, floor and ceiling of the bathroom form a sinuous curved envelope clad with stainless steel, and all bathroom fixtures including basins, water closet’s and shower fittings echo this fluid curvaceous nautical theme.
Photos: Aaron Pocock
Casa Incubo is a modular home consisting of eight shipping containers two stories high, built as a live/work space by architect Maria Jose Trejos in Escazú, an upscale suburb of San Jose, Costa Rica. Completed in 2013, the 4,305 square foot (400 square meters) property is not only surrounded by an abundance of nature, but it also encircles it with the structure enveloping a large cedar tree. This fabulous feature represents the principle concept of the project, which is an icon of sustainability.
Description from the architects: This design was conceived as a modular concept with eight reusable 40’ High Cube containers, united by a central two-story module that serves as the unifying element for the rest of the spaces. This articulating space is highly versatile and can serve various purposes, both as a social area and workspace: the house “gets dressed and undressed” according to the activities being carried out, with options including a main room, a high- definition audiovisual reproduction space, a photography studio and a publicity studio.
The project is also a result of the “interconnection” of containers that provides an additional surface, so that with four containers, the central module achieves 95 square meters of additional space, significantly reducing the building materials needed. At the same time, one of the second-story containers can shift lightly to one side to create exterior spaces with the use of a terrace and vestibule, with a secondary access on the facade.
This project questions the need for excessively large spaces, and challenges its occupants to be efficient. The project’s first level serves as a workspace and social area, while private rooms and space for private study are developed on the second level; the exterior walkway leads to the stairs that connect with the third?floor terrace, an open living space.
The bamboo covering, or “skin,” on the northeastern facade is composed of mobile panels that protect the inner spaces from solar radiation, and can be manipulated according to the sun’s movement during the afternoon hours. This skin also creates movement on the facade.
The cedartree, which predates the project on this land, plays a very important role in the placement of the home in the lot; the home was designed so that the tree can be seen from any point of the house. Sliding bamboo panels on the west side of the house can be adjusted to provide shade during the later part of the day.
The shape of the house also responds to the weather conditions of this particular location: the central two-story module acts as a cross-ventilation lung, and the western facade is glazed to achieve natural light.
Various considerations were taken into account to minimize the house’s environmental impact, from its design and materials to its energy conservation systems. For example, materials were chosen that are renewable, reusable or recyclable, as well as durable and low-maintenance. Wood from the branches of the cedar tree was used in stairs and other furniture elements. The deck is made of wood from certified renewable sources, mixed with recycled plastic; the flooring is made of polished concrete and bamboo, among other materials.
In addition, the house has rainwater collection systems for toilets and irrigation, and is set up for solar panels; most of the doors in the home are reused container doors, its hot water is heated by the sun, the cross-ventilation eliminates the need for air conditioning, and the natural light virtually eliminates the need for electrical lighting during the day.
The use of construction containers lends a rich contrast to the design, while also reducing the environmental impact by employing an already existing element, avoiding the CO2 emissions that would have been generated by producing cement and transporting traditional construction materials to the site, not to mention a less invasive earth-moving procedure. We estimate that the use of the container reduced construction time by 20% and the total cost by approximately 20% as well.
The slanted roof above the garage, painted white to reflect the heat in the tropical environment, also contains a solar heating system for water. The home also features a rainwater collection system, particularly useful during the long rainy season.
Photos: Sergio Pucci
Northwest Harbor House is a contemporary single story raised structure that has been designed by Bates Masi + Architects, located in East Hampton, New York. This stunning single family home is comprised of 1,895 square feet of living space.
Straddling freshwater wetlands and a tidal estuary just six feet above sea level, this house’s site demands extraordinary sensitivity to environmental concerns. Local zoning restricts the structure’s maximum coverage and proximity to wetland areas, while FEMA requirements set the first floor structure above the base flood elevation. The house’s basic massing is therefore predetermined, limited to a one-story, 1,900-square-foot design, raised eight feet above the ground. The spaces within this envelope are arranged, articulated, and fenestrated based on an innovative structural system that infuses the house’s inner areas with light and circulating air.
Whereas most waterfront construction uses pilings to establish an artificial ground plane upon which a conventional house is built, these structural members are integral in this project: sixteen exposed, glue-laminated piles stake out the enclosing walls for each of the three bedrooms and extend continuously from the ground through the roof. The spaces between these piles house “utility” functions: closet, desk, laundry, pantry, and shower compartment. In addition to these conventional utilities, three vertical voids are opened between the piles to serve the spaces around them.
Without occupying any of the limited allowed coverage, these open areas add considerable value by improving the house’s interior environmental quality and diminishing its impact on the local environment. The benefit is threefold: each opening draws light though the interior spaces to the carport below, conducts rainwater from the roof deck to the ground via integral downspouts carved into the piles, and ventilates by siphoning air through the middle of the structure.
At the roof, the projecting piles divide the space between a deck directly coinciding with the living areas below and a modular planting system installed above each bedroom to reduce runoff. The projecting piles also serve as supports for photovoltaics that power geothermal pumps, utilizing the abundance of high ground water to heat and cool the house. At the ground level, the space below the house is utilized for parking and storage to minimize the footprint on the site.
By allowing voids to permeate through the house, the owners have multiple visual connections to the landscape from below, within, and above, encouraging a sense of place.
Photos: Bates Masi + Architects
Skidmore Passivhaus merges contemporary design with the highest level of energy efficiency, designed by In Situ Architecture, located in an existing neighborhood or post-war houses in Portland, Oregon.
From the architect: Comprised of 1,956 square feet of gross living space, the residence provides a true live / work condition. Two separate buildings address the program requirements while creating a unique indoor / outdoor space between.
High levels of insulation, extremely airtight construction (tested at .32ach50), high performing triple glazed european windows, and a super-efficient heat recovery ventilator allow the structure to meet the stringent requirements of the German Passivhaus standard.
Generous amounts of south facing glazing (.5 shgc) maximize the solar gains for most of the year, while motorized exterior aluminum shades can be lowered to block unwanted summer heat gain resulting in extremely comfortable temperatures year round.
An extensive green roof helps manage all stormwater on site, while a roof mounted 4.32 kW PV array provides enough electricity to result in a near net zero and truly sustainable building.
Photos: Courtesy of In Situ Architecture
4 Springs Lane is a contemporary custom home designed by Robert M. Gurney Architect, sited on 24 acres of rolling topography, open fields and woodlands in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Extensive site investigation, including erecting scaffolding at various locations, resulted in the placement of the house high on one of the hills, overlooking a meadow at the base of woodlands.
From the architect: The house is organized as a series of volumes, arranged linearly and positioned to optimize distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The structure itself becomes a threshold and defines a more intimate, manicured outdoor environment between the house and the edge of the forest. The linear organization allows the majority of spaces to maintain mountain views while providing accessibility to a terrace with the swimming pool and the manicured area. The two-story living / dining space has floor-to-ceiling glass at each end, providing a lens through which to view the mountains from the terrace.
The rigorous, refined and geometric forms of the building are designed in sharp contrast to the undulating, natural landscape. The contrast is intended to magnify the beauty of the site while allowing the house to provide a framework to view the landscape. These views become the orienting device. Simple volumes comprised of glass, wood, stone and fiber cement panels are combined to render a more complex composition while garnering a serene unity.
Interior spaces are active and intricate, tranquil and minimal. With vistas in all directions, large expanses of glass allow the landscape views to provide the primary sensory experience.
A geothermal HVAC system, energy efficient appliances, wall and ceiling infrastructure with maximum insulation, a rain-screen cladding system, extensive daylighting and solar-sensored shades are employed with the expectation of reducing fossil fuel consumption. Large operable windows and doors are placed to provide natural ventilation.
This house is pragmatic and pristine. Proportion, texture and light organize and animate the project. The composition is simultaneously complex and distilled. Most importantly, the house provides a framework to experience an inherently beautiful landscape.
Photos: Maxwell MacKenzie
96 Golden Beach Drive is a residential project with a minimalist zen feel, completed in 2012 by SDH Studio, located in Golden Beach, Florida. The residence is nestled on a 13,000 square foot lot, designed around a 27 foot high space that would be the heart of this home.
From the architects: With the idea of bringing in the outdoor landscape, the house opens up towards the water and fills the triple height space with natural light and green.
With a Minimalist/Zen approach every space was carefully designed to accommodate a family with three children. The house reinforces one of the basic philosophies of sdh studio which emphasizes the value of environmentally sustainable design.
Photos: Robin Hill
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