In an effort to provide a more cost-effective urban housing option, Square Root Architecture has been developing their C3 prefab housing system. C3, which stands for 'Cube, Copy, Cut', is designed for a middle-income budget on an urban infill lot. The Chicago-based firm recently completed their first prototype in the West Town neighborhood, in close proximity to public transportation, shopping, parks and other urban amenities. Organized around a private courtyard, the home is infused with daylight and includes a slew of energy efficient and sustainable building strategies. The building is aiming for LEED Platinum certification.
The C3 is a three-bedroom, three-bath house located in an urban setting and is surrounded by other houses. The 2,039 sq ft, two-story home enjoys a small yard and garden, as well as an internal and very private courtyard. Bedrooms are located in the private first floor, while the public living, dining and kitchen spaces are downstairs. The courtyard sits almost in the middle of the space and acts as a light well, pulling daylight down into the ground floor and bedrooms. Although built privately for a family, the prefab also serves as an example of “how residential construction can be designed affordably, sustainably and contextually within an urban environment.”
The home has already achieved Energy Star certification and expects to receive Chicago Green Homes and LEED Platinum certification later this year. In terms of energy, the home uses 54% less energy and produces 64% less emissions then a comparable home, and creates its own hot water with a solar system on the roof. Energy efficient LED lighting, daylighting, natural ventilation, a ductless mini split HVAC and a heat recovery ventilator minimize energy use. Low VOC finishes, FSC certified wood, recycled and reclaimed materials, like wood and exterior siding work to minimize the building’s footprint.
The roof has been designed to be able to handle a living roof and a photovoltaic system in the future, when funds become available. Although no prices or cost estimates have been listed, Square Root claims the home is cost-effective and affordable.
Images ©Mike Schwartz courtesy of Square Root Architecture