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GEOTHERMAL HOUSE: Maryann Thompson Architects

by , 09/27/06

geothermal house, maryann thompson architects, architecture, residential

Growing up in a Marcel Breuer House would make one no stranger to modernist aesthetic and space. Thus, architect Maryann Thompson was privileged to come across such clients when she was commissioned to design a house for a family of four that would open up to the outdoors rather than shutting it out. Thompson’s Geothermal House, as it came to be called, unfolds in “layers of interlocking spaces.” As one travels from the northern public side of the house to the southern, more private end, one follows the sun’s path, naturally stepping down the sloping site. Continually referencing the outside through the interior of the house, the horizontal planes jut out into the landscape.

But this house goes beyond simply embracing nature visually; you guessed it – a geothermal heating and cooling system is employed.


geothermal-2

The geothermal system supplies heat and cooling for the entire house, working much like a traditional heat pump, except that the energy is taken from the ground. The geothermal system saves approximately 60% of energy costs. Even better, passive design strategies mean that the owners often don’t even have to turn the geothermal system on! Making the north facing walls insular helps to capture warmth and keeps out the cold, while the south facing walls open up to let in sun and warmth. Deep overhangs also control heat loss and gain, and all rooms have cross ventilation – while letting in light on two sides. Talk about bringing the outside in!

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8 Comments

  1. ainsleylowe July 9, 2009 at 11:04 pm

    ” Even better, passive design strategies mean that the owners often don’t even have to turn the geothermal system on! Making the north facing walls insular helps to capture warmth and keeps out the cold, while the south facing walls open up to let in sun and warmth.” How does making the North and South walls thus, acheive this. And how can that be modified to acheive passive cooling? HELP!

  2. christopher (deepstruct... September 29, 2006 at 6:25 am

    well i haven’t read the book. i tried to once, but it was after i’d read ‘atlas shrugged.’ boy was that an experience. i was in my mid-twenties when i read that. the first 100 pages i thought it was the most brilliant thing i’d ever read. finally someone who thought the way i did! and then for the next 800 pages it was nothing but the same litany over and over. i was sooo sick of her message by the time i was done with the book that i couldn’t even get through the first few chapters of ‘the fountainhead.’ she’s a little bit too on the nose for dramatic storytelling.

  3. Glen Grayson September 28, 2006 at 9:09 pm

    Actually, I just received an email that indicates a new cork tile floor, that my be interesting (also from Habitus).

    http://www.kitchen-bath.com/kbb/products/kitchen/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1003188128

  4. Glen Grayson September 28, 2006 at 1:57 pm

    Awful movie, wasn’t it? The movie was as bad as the book was GREAT! I have tread the book twice, and I figure every ten years or so, as an architect, I give it another read. It still rings true, as far as the politics of development and selection go.

    One material to consider for bathroom floors might be cork. Check out Habitus in NYC for their cork tiles, and their Japanese stucco for walls.
    http://habitusnyc.com/

  5. deepstructure September 27, 2006 at 7:21 pm

    interesting. in seeing the first pic in this article i was struck by it’s resemblance to the fictional howard roark’s buildings in the ‘the fountainhead,’ which i just watched for the first time last night.

  6. Cheryl Hildreth September 27, 2006 at 6:19 pm

    This design is very nice. Was wood flooring used throughout the home? I was wondering what material is a good source for green design for bathroom floors. Can anyone enlighten me on this subject?

    Thanks,
    Cheryl Hildreth

  7. Skip September 27, 2006 at 5:07 pm

    Can you post any details about the geothermal system (main unit, how many zones, et al; basically, how is it used in the house for heating / cooling)?

  8. PK - Jetson Green September 27, 2006 at 7:05 am

    This is a pretty cool house; I saw it at Architectural Record when I decided to write a post about it on my blog. Nice feature and pics!

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