The beautiful modern home uses just 1/5 the amount of energy that a traditionally built home would use, thanks to the convex roof and low-impact materials. Behrooz has long been a fan of the airplane hangar-like design, seeing the building type as one with many applications. The design resonated with Stansel and Marek, as the property sits below a flight path, and the unassuming, low-slung facade highly appealed to their subtle tastes.
In regards to sustainability, the arced design is extremely efficient — it requires no structural columns, allowing for way less materials to be used. New lumber was only used in the interior partition wall studs and the exterior cedar siding around the bedroom — all other materials were reclaimed or recycled. The above ground floor of the home hosts the public spaces, and given that there are no columns, the floor remains open and expansive. The arc of the structure peaks at 16 feet, allowing hot air to rise to the center and cool air to roll down the sides. The windows have a superior thermal performance, meaning that daylight floods the space, but doesn’t overheat the interior. All of the lower windows can be opened, and they are oriented to maximize natural air circulation in the home.
Building a large portion of the home below ground allowed Behrooz to playfully alter the naturally flat landscape. All of the soil that was moved to make room for the 4,300 square foot space became a small hill in front of the home. The lower level opens to the yard and a courtyard, which lets natural light into the space. The biggest benefit to the earth-enclosed lower level is the consistently lower temperature. This cooler air flows into the above ground living space through a large central stairwell.
The home furthers its connection to the environment through a geothermal heating and cooling HVAC system. To maximize efficiency, the home is equipped with a state-of-the-art temperature control zoning system that tracks peak cooling and heating times to be able to best accommodate the energy load. Behrooz has been keeping in touch with the couple in order to monitor the home’s energy consumption, and he recently told GreenSource that the energy bill for the first three months was just $300. He added, “My 1,300-square-foot ranch house costs more than that per month.”
Images © Matthew Carbone for MB Architecture