Mother Earth Living

The Good Life

All things Mother Earth Living

Add to My MSN

R-House: An Efficient, Affordable Urban Housing Prototype

3/22/2011 12:00:00 AM

Tags: R-House, Syracuse, New York, passive solar, daylighting, Passive House

Robyn Griggs Lawrence thumbnailWhen I was editor-in-chief of Natural Home, I would eagerly mine the list of annual AIA Housing Award recipients for good green homes to feature in the magazine. Ten years ago, I’d be lucky to find one or two. In a remarkable sign of just how mainstream green building has become, every single one of this year’s recipients is a model of smart, environmentally friendly design and construction. Green is the new normal. And this year, it was hard to pick a favorite—but I did.

R-House, a prototype residence in Syracuse, New York, designed by Della Valle Bernheimer and Architecture Research Office, is a 1,100-square-foot home designed as part of an initiative to revitalize the blighted Westside neighborhood in Syracuse. Affordable and innovative, R-House achieves minimal- to- net-zero energy consumption within architecture meant to nurture the spirit and engage the community. The house was designed to exceed the German Passivhaus ultra-low energy standard, utilizing an extremely well-insulated exterior envelope, an efficient recirculating heating and ventilation system, and high-performance windows that optimize solar gain.

The home is airy and bright, with a two-story space lit by large south-facing windows that provide passive solar heat and an adaptable design that could transform from a two-bedroom to a three- or four-bedroom house by extending the second floor over the living space. Its expansive, luminous interior spaces require only the equivalent energy of a hair dryer for heating.

“This is an exciting idea,” one AIA juror wrote. “There are such great mass production possibilities.” Another juror heralded R-House as “a new slant on sustainability.” I suspect—and hope—we’ll see more of this house.

 r house exterior 

r house exterior 2 

The home is clad in aluminum siding fabricated by Litsco.  

 r house interior 

Large south-facing windows provide passive solar heat and natural daylighting. 

r house interior 2 

The architects designed the home to nurture spirit and community. 



Related Content

Size Matters: Americans Moving to Smaller Homes

The American Institute of Architect’s Home Design Trends Survey confirmed what Natural Home predicte...

Tea House Dreaming

A proper tea house is a luxury I believe in.

Jewelweed Salve: Natural Treatment for Poison Ivy

Take care of poison ivy the old-fashioned way, with herbs from nature. Jewelweed is an excellent tre...

An Energy- and Resource-Efficient Louisiana Home Remodel--For $98 A Square Foot

After a tree crushed the back of their shotgun home (while 40 Hurricane Katrina refugees were camped...

Content Tools




Post a comment below.

 



Subscribe today and save 58%

First Name: *
Last Name: *
Address: *
City: *
State/Province: *
Zip/Postal Code:*
Country:
Email:*
(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here

Subscribe to Mother Earth Living!

Welcome to Mother Earth Living, the authority on green lifestyle and design. Each issue of Mother Earth Living features advice to create naturally healthy and nontoxic homes for yourself and your loved ones. With Mother Earth Living by your side, you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $14.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $19.95.