An Orchard in the Sky

This is by far the largest and most ambitious project we have undertaken. Ecostead Versant is at-onceĀ a residence, a permaculture learning center and food processing facility for permaculture harvests.

The site for this project proved to be challenging, even by our local standards, and required careful coordination with our associate landscape architect. As part of the comprehensive design program, we worked closely with our permaculture consultant as part of the design team.

The considerations for the design program for this project extend beyond the life of our clients. They want their project to be a model for what is achievable when larger and long term sustainability goals are addressed.


The project is comprised of a number of discrete and overlapping components- guest quarters, office space, a four seasons classroom, greenhouse, commercial kitchen, fitness room, and several gathering spaces. Heating and cooling for the home is provided by complementary systems, comprised of passive elements, active solar thermal and photovoltaic panels. Given the intrinsic permaculture component, it was decided to utilize only surface and rainwater for the landscaping; with a combination of ponds and cisterns, there is provision for over 170,000 gallons of water storage on the site.

This project utilizes hempcrete as the exterior wall system, paired with highly insulated floor and roof systems. The locally-produced compressed earth block flooring will provide significant thermal mass, helping to stabilize interior temperatures throughout the year.

The commercial kitchen in the home is certified for food production and food safety inspections. This presented a number of challenges far outside the scope of typical residential construction. We employed a commercial kitchen professional to help us to address the technical and code issues that came with this part of the project.


  • Designer & Architect: Alembic Studio, LLC & Josh Pettler, AIA
  • General Contractor: Jade Mountain Builders
  • Engineering: Medlock and Associates
  • Civil Engineering: HydroCycle Engineering
  • Mechanical Systems: Sugar Hollow Solar & Bullman Heating
  • Landscaping: Osgood Landscape Architecture
  • Permaculture Design: Living Systems Design