Tree house in the forest

Sustainability and natural light were just two of the items on the checklist for the architects behind this renovation
Story by: David Renwick
The deck openings are all sheltered architecture, deck, facade, floor, home, house, lighting, real estate, siding, window, wood, wood flooring, black
The deck openings are all sheltered

Architect: Gardner Architects LLCStructural engineer: Robert Silman Associates PLLCKitchen designer: Jennifer Gilmer Kitchen & BathAbout the project (text supplied): Residential building fabric is all too often razed in order to create new residential structures that maximise the zoning envelope, to the detriment of the neighbourhood fabric and scale.

By contrast the design approach for this project integrates analysis of typical characteristics of construction vis-a-vis the era of construction, building-site relationships, and sustainable strategies in order to join competing interests, save the building and preserve its role in the community.

This house, built in the 1960s, faces south on a wooded lot in Bethesda, Maryland. The house had limited and lifeless connections to its site, and a dearth of habitable spaces that adjoined the landscape.

advertisement


A large shower has views out to the architecture, bathroom, ceiling, daylighting, floor, home, house, interior design, gray, black
A large shower has views out to the forest

With excessive energy consumption, poor construction characteristic of its era compounded by considerable deterioration as the baseline condition in which we found the home, the house then suffered a major blow--burst pipes rendered the house uninhabitable. This last event prompted the owners to either raze or resuscitate their home.

We implemented passive approaches for daylight and ventilation, a new vapour-managed building envelope, a state-of-the art insulation strategy, and updated high-efficiency mechanical systems.

We stewarded the development of a master plan that manages storm water, creates habitat for indigenous species, and selectively embraces trees thereby preserving the quality of the community. Our strategy saved the existing building, preserve the site and the existing trees contributed to the preservation of the neighbourhood history.

A view down into the lounge door, estate, floor, flooring, hardwood, home, house, interior design, laminate flooring, living room, property, real estate, room, window, wood, wood flooring, brown, gray
A view down into the lounge

The renovated home includes 25% increased fenestration with glazing type and area tuned towards exposure, and a new building envelope achieving a 35% improvement over the new International Green Construction Code baseline.

Bringing in daylight and natural cross ventilation, the new design maximises the benefits of available sun in winter and abundant shade in summer provided by the wooded context while retaining the tie between house and site that inspired the original design.

Nov 28, 2017

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

advertisement

Similar stories

Natural warmth with the Envira Weatherboard System

It’s a fact - timber is a natural insulator - and with the use of Niagara’s 100% timber components, a fully enclosed, weathertight finish can be achieved. Read more

Be water wise – simple water saving tips

Water wastage isn’t just bad for the environment, it’s expensive too, with every little bit of waste adding up to a bigger monthly water bill.  Read more

Latest books

Homes Trends Vol. 34/4

Whether space for your new bathroom is generous or modest, you'll want to create a room that not only looks good but is also a breeze to use. And that often means working around restrictions of plumbing locations, the po... Read more

Commercial Design Trends Vol. 34/2C

Whether you’re travelling for work or pleasure, your hotel experience can either make or break your trip. Our market report in this issue looks at the changing world of hotel design – from five star establ... Read more

Home Trends Vol. 34/2

Placing the kitchen at the heart of a home is not just about creating a convenient zone for easy food preparation and eating meals.Just as important is the way it's seen as an attractive place where family can spend time ... Read more

Related profiles

Glasshape Ltd

Glasshape, established in 1986, is a leading innovator, designer and manufacturer of curved, toughened and laminated specialty glass. Family owned and based in Auckland, New Zealand, Glasshape’s philosophy of growth through innovat... Read more

James Hardie

James Hardie is a leading international building materials company and a global leader in fibre cement, one of the world's fastest growing building products. Read more

Heirloom International Ltd

Heirloom International is a long established and leading manufacturer and distributor of bathroom products. Read more