Architecture firm Brooks Scarpa has incredibly transformed a small Venice bungalow into an airy multi-leveled residence. Called Solar Umbrella, the house fuses energy efficiency and sustainability with modern living. Constructed for a small family of three, the home sets the bar for the future generation of modern architecture, while also being energy neutral.
The residence was inspired by the open framework of the Umbrella House, built in 1953 by Paul Rudolph. Using this model, Brooks Scarpa created a modern solar canopy, which extends over the top of the residence, providing thermal protection. This solar paneled skin also soaks up solar rays, converting it into energy which poweres 100% of the home’s electricity. Recycled materials were used throughout, from insulation, to cabinetry and flooring, to recycled steel plates. A stormwater basin is filled with remnant granite gravel. Integrating sustainability into the design processs has helped make the residence 100% energy neutral.
The original house was a paltry 650 square feet, hardly a suitable space for a small family. Reorganizing the space, Brooks Scarpa shifted the entrance from the front to what was the back, allowing for a gracious addition to be added to the southern side. The large addition spreads out the interior quarters, and is met by a glass wall, which integrates the interior with the spacious yard. The exterior and interior are further connected with design elements, such as pathways from the pool to the entryway, as well as mimicked angles and lines inside and out of the house. The architects built the residence vertically to add the needed space, creating a master suite above the living area, accessible by steel stairs. The bedroom opens onto a large patio that overlooks the garden, connecting the second floor to the outside space.
The new addition softens modern touches by creating an sense of transparency, open and airy with stairs, columns and rails framing the edges. Completed, the renovation along with the addition tripled the living space to 1900 square feet.
The Solar Umbrella is an extremely forward thinking, modern homage to Rudolph’s Umbrella House, creating an energy neutral space large enough for a family, that connects the residents to the land.