Photo credit: Photos: Matt McCourtney, McCourtney Photographics
The firm handled this project from concept to completion including storm water diversion, site layout and prep, schematic design and construction documents. The intent was to design a home that addressed the site directly without any negative impacts while taking advantage of the natural beauty of the land. Additionally, the client wanted a passively lit, passively cooled and ventilated home to increase indoor/outdoor livability and reduce electrical demand. Durable finishes were necessary to reduce the risk of mold growth when the home is open to the humid climate. The home also had to be zero-energy and as sustainable as possible. The client wanted a home with clean, simple lines that lived modern but was not stark in finish.
Challenges included: building to local hurricane codes with timber framing; exceeding every known HERS index in the U.S.; designing green with a western rear elevation; construction against a wetland loaded with invasive plant species; achieving highest scoring new LEED Platinum rating on a lot with no connectability in a rural environment; and creating a passively ventilated and lit home in a subtropical climate zone without encouraging mold growth. Additionally, the client wanted a home that resembled nothing in this area yet felt like a newer version of the original vernacular architecture.
This home was designed to allow passive breezes to enter through the western elevation’s accordion doors, pass through and exit the awning transom windows on the front. This design allows ample light to enter, eliminating the need for electric lighting most times. To combat afternoon heating through western glass, the home was located in the shadow zone cast from the improved hardwood swamp that creates views upon entering the front door. Only mold-resistant products were specified, including: cypress trim, beams, cabinets and rafters, clay walls, paperless wallboard, and concrete floors and tops. These products are local, contributing to LEED rating.