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PHOTOS: Inside the New Williamsburg Passive House by Loadingdock5
Posted By Leonel Ponce On April 19, 2011 @ 6:55 pm In Architecture,Brooklyn | 6 Comments
The three-story Brooklyn residence  was built in compliance with the German Passiv Haus  standards, which emphasizes the heavy insulation of walls and openings, and the precise balancing of interior and exterior temperatures. The building technique cuts down not only on energy consumption and cost, but also on initial construction costs usually allocated to expansive traditional heating and ventilation systems. During most of the year with extreme weather (summer and winter, specifically), the house maintains a very tight seal and all ventilation is done through the Passive House ventilation duct system. But on beautiful spring days when the temperature is mild (such as the day of our visit) allow for fresh air and ample ventilation, the house remains open to the outdoor weather in temperate parts of the year.
When we arrived at the house, we waited inside the clothing and design store at ground level where we were met by the design team. The stunning raw concrete space looks down upon a double height workshop and design laboratory, where owner GGrippo produces his latest “creative activism ” designs; fantastic recycled artwork  mixed with adorable cashmere toys and children’s  clothing.
The design team then led us through the neon pink front door to the residence, and up two flights of stairs to the main residential  space. Impressive 6′-6″ x 10′ triple-glazed sliding doors, manufactured by Austrian company Walch, allow cool air to flow into the room, and a hatch flushes warm air out through the roof. On the day of our visit, there was a lovely breeze that balanced the cozy temperature inside.
The 20-foot tall room, elegantly furnished  under GGrippo’s direction, portrays a clean aesthetic of bright colors and simple lines fit for the creative couple and their young daughter. The design also provides a contrast to the whitewashed concrete walls and exposed ceilings, preserving the openness of the double height spaces, while focusing visual activity at floor level. Light  streaming in from the double-height facade bounced around the brightly colored space, transforming the calculated design into an active living zone perfect for hosting parties and dinners, or taking out crayons and coloring away!
The interior aesthetic becomes more intimate in the smaller, private rooms; personal effects, children’s toys and a more nuanced color palete scale down the single height bedrooms and study. The master bedroom, perched on a loft above the central space, features a lavatory and shower built into a frosted glass wall. The translucent partition creates a private zone for the resident couple, yet allows light to flow into the space from the south. This design maximizes illumination with natural daylighting , while diminishing the need for windows in the bedroom itself, lowering the heat gain and loss in the room to save energy . As an added bonus, we can only imagine that the exhibitionist nature of the shower certainly must create some suspense for the inhabitants!
In the loft, as in the living room and kitchen areas, ducts and piping are exposed to view, as are the metal decking of the floor and its supporting beams. While the house is now furnished and occupied, it proudly bares its mechanical and structural bones as a testament to its amazing efficiency.
The lower level of the house contains a bedroom for the couple’s daughter, Lucia, along with a separate restroom and a study. These rooms sit at the core of the building, adjacent to the bulk of the mechanical systems, yet one would never know it because the ventilation system registers little sound. During our visit, the architects  demonstrated how amazingly quiet their PassiveHaus ventilation system is. Sam turned on the Mitsubishi Mini Split Heat Pump ducted indoor ventilation unit at maximum power, daring us to perceive any noise.
We stood in the house in near dead silence, as only a faint hum could be heard by approaching the air diffusers in each room. This house’s mechanical system is “passive” beyond its energy consumption; at key locations, the system is barely perceptible, only revealing itself via small wall registers and minimal sound. Loadingdock5 utilizes the ventilation system’s minimal requirements to their advantage: exposed ducts and pipes add minimal focus points to otherwise blank concrete masonry walls, and a silent system can be easily hidden behind walls to preserve visual and audial privacy.
Through their ability to emphasize or hide the inner workings of this building based on the functional needs of each space, and by working as a designer-client team to conceive an ideal living space, Loadingdock5  has created an beautiful and very livable prototype for Passiv Haus construction in New York City .
Article printed from Inhabitat New York City: http://inhabitat.com/nyc
URL to article: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/photos-inside-the-new-williamsburg-passive-house-by-loadingdock5/
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 Email: mailto:?subject=http://inhabitat.com/nyc/photos-inside-the-new-williamsburg-passive-house-by-loadingdock5/
 completion of Brooklyn's first Passive House: http://inhabitat.com/nyc/sneak-peak-first-look-inside-williamsburgs-newest-passive-house/
 three-story Brooklyn residence: http://www.loadingdock5.com/index.php?/progress/174-grand-street/
 Passiv Haus: http://inhabitat.com/nyc../../brooklyn-brownstone-gets-a-passive-house-renovation/
 interior : http://www.inhabitat.com/interiors
 energy : http://www.inhabitat.com/energy
 creative activism: http://www.ggrippo.com/
 recycled artwork: http://www.inhabitat.com/art
 children’s: http://www.inhabitots.com
 residential: http://inhabitat.com/japan-gets-its-first-passive-house/
 elegantly furnished: http://inhabitat.com/foster-partners-unveil-elegant-led-flo-lamp-at-milan-furniture-fair/
 Light: http://www.inhabitat.com/light
 daylighting: http://inhabitat.com/led-light-fixtures-create-the-illusion-of-daylighting/
 ventilation : http://inhabitat.com/california-desert-home-uses-passive-ventilation-techniques/
 architects: http://www.inhabitat.com/architecture
 Loadingdock5: http://www.loadingdock5.com/
 New York City: http://www.inhabitat.com/nyc
 + Sneak Peek at the Williamsburg Passive House: http://inhabitat.com/brooklyn-brownstone-gets-a-passive-house-renovation/
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