Objective - To create an architecture in support of lifestyle that is broadly sustainable and specifically does not require the burning of carbon fuels (has no carbon footprint) with as little technological intervention as possible.
Meadow House is designed as a prototype, based on my own interests. It is an efficient two-bedroom home for empty nesters with extra features; including 1) private His & Her workspaces, 2) a roof garden that combines a traditional green roof with a kitchen garden & patio and 3) what I am calling a Green Room; It’s a combination sunroom, greenhouse that provides “outdoor” space for when the actual out of doors is too hot, cold, wet or snowy for normal activities. It is a larger space, separate from the main living areas. Once constructed, it will be monitored for 2 years to determine the results of various decisions.
Meadow House represents the ongoing effort at Stockbridge Green Architects to build a better house. I use this term broadly as in the function of buildings is to house activities or things, providing protection from the elements. For us, better means increased comfort and pleasure, more healthy, requiring less effort, a more natural positive experience. We take the long view by considering the life-cycle of the investment. This ongoing process has resulted in the following concepts being integrated into the design.
- This design is powered exclusively by the natural energy flows that come in contact with the buildings surfaces, derived from sunlight; solar PV, wind and geo-thermal.
- We limit disturbance to natural ecology around and under residence. We strive to protect & if possible, create clean earth, clean water & clean air.
- We create permanent/durable construction. We tend towards natural, traditional materials that are low maintenance and age with grace. We simplify where possible, specifying fewer moving parts; less to break down or require updating. We rely on material physics to maximize efficiency ahead of electronics and digital manipulation. This reduces or eliminates required maintenance.
- We consider total life-cycle impacts & costs of the building on the occupants (health) and planetary life support system. We work to refine a system that can be used at every pricing level on every building type.
- We use proven materials, methods & technologies in innovative ways to get better results.
- We design and assemble our work product so that, as much as possible, it can be disassembled and reused at the end of the product’s useful life. See Cradle to Cradle by William McDonough & Michael Braungart.
- We build better, not bigger, subscribing to a version of “Not-So-Big”, by Sarah Susanka
- We pursue an Architecture of our time, building on what has come before, referencing context, but always explore new forms with integrity, based on the present and our vision of the future.
- We strive for balance in creation, combining the pragmatic with the poetic.
This list of concepts is the basis for the Meadow House design. They can be applied to any residential project and to other building types as well.