Our initial contact with this Client was for a consultation based on a passive solar design they had found in a book. In our subsequent conversations with them, it became clear that the needs of their family of four would be better served by a custom design.
Our task was to design their home for two working parents and two almost-teen children, with the provision for extended visits by relatives. It was to be passive-solar, with enhanced thermal performance through a combination of wall systems and insulation strategies. Detailing to ensure relatively low-maintenance characteristics was important, as well as the ability for the children to have their own individual separate space. The house was to integrated into the landscape in a manner that allowed a clear flow of movement from the interior of the home to the outside.
This home is situated on a slope with perfect southern exposure. The ground floor was utilized for kitchen, dining and family space, with two individual master bedroom suites accessed through transitional corridors. It is earth-bermed across 60% of the north wall, and has separate outdoor living spaces for both master suites, and the living room. Structural insulated panels(SIPS) and AAC block were used for the wall system, with both SIPS and engineered trusses with cellulose being used for the roofs.
Designing for natural lighting and is always important; the stairway serves as both a day-lighting tower and cupola for ventilation. The two childrens bedrooms are of exactly the same square footage, (to avoid issues over “who has the larger” room), with unique lay-outs. They are separated by a common space with adjacent bath, that opens to an outside play area on the north.
The Owners were deeply involved in the construction process of their home, and it shows. From the interior finishes and woodworking, to the massive stone retaining walls, this is a piece of work we are all proud of.
Alembic Studio is a member of the Western North Carolina Green Building Council.
Lourdes Gonzalez is an accredited professional through the United States Green Building Council.