Eric Laine and Suzanne Steelman from Clemson University’s Graduate School of Architecture recently took home first prize in Dow Solar's Design to Zero competition with their net plus live work units. By combining top floor residential units with a ground floor commercial space, the duo were able to maximize the use of a rooftop photovoltaic system that can produce more than enough energy for the complex. On top of environmental sustainability, LiveWork also promotes economic and social sustainability, making it an exciting urban design concept.
LiveWork by Eric Laine and Suzanne Steelman came out on top of the Dow Solar Design to Zero competition for its clever combination of sustainable building strategies and incorporation of both living and working space. Created for an urban location in Athens, Georgia, LiveWork is made up of three units for families of 2, 4 and 6 people. Each unit features a commercial space on the street level, which could be owned and operated by the family living above or rented out to another business as extra income. The second floor is where the families’ homes are located and is filled with natural sunlight.
Environmentally, the units are topped off with a large PV system to generate more than enough power for the store and the apartments making this a net plus project. Rainwater is collected off the roof and stored in underground cisterns for use in the buildings and for landscaping. Living walls provide shade during the summer, but shed leaves in the winter to let in more light. Capitalizing on the around the clock use of the project, energy efficiency is clearly gained whether it’s being used in the commercial space or up in the apartment. LiveWork is designed not only to provide a sustainable home for a family, but also a sustainable income for that family. Congrats to Steelman and Laine who have won a $20,000 prize for their design from Dow Solar.