Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Geothermal House : By Maryann Thompson Architects

Maryann Thompson Architects

Post By:Kitticoon Poopong
via:archrecord--By Ingrid Spencer

Photo © Chuck Choi
When an architect and client click, a certain energy is sparked. That’s what happened when Cambridge, Massachusetts-based architect Maryann Thompson met the family of four who commissioned what would become the Geothermal House, on a 3-acre site outside of Boston. According to Thompson, the wife of the couple with two adolescent children who were her clients for the project, had grown up in Litchfield, Connecticut, in a house built by an architect who worked for Marcel Breuer. With Modernist principles so ingrained in her life, Thompson’s client longed for a home that had the same transparency and connection to the outdoors she had grown up with. “It was more than just opening the house up to the outside,” says Thompson. “We wanted to actually “exteriorize” the inside of the house and “interiorize” the outside.”

Photo © Chuck Choi 
The 3-acre site was ideal for this approach. On a south-facing hill above a small pond, surrounded by meadows and trees and adjacent to an Audubon wildlife sanctuary, Thompson designed a U-shaped, 4,500-square-foot home with layers of interlocking spaces that open and unfold to views and sunlight as you move from the north-facing public side of the home to the south-facing private side. “The house is designed so that your life within follows the sun’s path throughout the day,” says Thompson.

Photo © Chuck Choi 
The unfolding spatial sequence starts on the first floor with a guest/in-law suite, a kitchen/dining/living area, screened porch, “orangerie” (an atrium with orange trees), study, 2.5 baths, and two children’s bedrooms. The lower level rooms step down the natural slope of the site—down two steps into the living area, then down two more steps into the kitchen area, which combined make one large room with different levels. Upstairs is the master suite, with a private deck as well as a balcony overlooking the south-facing terrace.

Photo © Chuck Choi 
All rooms receive light on two sides, and the stepped living area is surrounded on four sides by clerestory windows. “The north façade is super insulated and contains the storage areas,” says Thompson. “As you progress through the house, clerestory windows and a center courtyard focus your eye to the south, east, and west. With the sun’s progress, you get a sense of ‘hide’ and ‘reveal’ as you travel through the house.” A steel frame, shiplap cedar siding, slate, kota brown sandstone, reclaimed walnut flooring and pine stair treads, acid-washed steel, and a poured-in-place cantilevered hearth are the main construction materials.

Photo © Chuck Choi  
As well as passive techniques, such as cross-ventilation and large overhanging trellises on the west and southern elevations, the house uses a geothermal system to heat and cool. Similar to regular heat pumps, though using the ground instead of air to get air conditioning, heating, and hot water to the house, the geothermal system saves around 60 percent in energy costs. And, according to Thompson, it is often not even necessary to turn it on. “Because there’s water in the floor, and the sun comes into the house through clerestory and other windows, the floors are often warmed without the need for heat,” she says. “Even in the Massachusetts winter the family tells me their house is often comfortable without using the heater.” The home does have a regular, back-up heating system just in case.
Site Plan
While Thompson’s client was reflecting on her past experience with a Modernist home as she and the architect set the program for the house, she was also considering a future when elderly parents would move in with the family. In the guest wing, handicap accessibility includes a wheelchair accessible shower off the guest bathroom, while the hall allows for a future ramp to be integrated to negotiate the changing floor levels of the main house. “The house was designed to create a continuum, and this family wants to stay here through retirement and beyond,” says Thompson. “It is truly a home for living.”
Gross square footage:
8,000 sq. ft.

Total construction cost:
$3.2 million
the People
David Lubin & Nora Huvelle
Maryann Thompson Architects
14 Hillside Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02140
T: 617.491.4144
F: 617.491.3844

Principal in Charge:
Maryann Thompson
Project Manager:
Bill Pevear
Project Team:
Tom Murdough, Ioana Urma, David Suttle
Interior designer
C & J Katz Studio
Boston, MA
Bill Ouellette
The Phoenix Engineering Group
Littleton, MA
Steve Siegel
Siegel Associates
Newton, MA
Julie Moir Messervy – Saxton River, VT
Steel Fabricator:
Cape Cod Fabrications
North Falmouth, MA
Steel Detailer:
Don Conan
Granville, MA
Stone Mason:
Jim Dowd
Petersham, MA
General contractor
S+H Construction
Chuck Choi Architectural Photography
the Products
Structural system
Steel frame
Exterior cladding
1x5 tongue & groove western red cedar & V-groove western red cedar vertical siding
Dynamic windows and Doors www.dynamicwindows.com; Honduras mahogany exterior. Interior, including trim, Honduras mahogany in wet locations. All other interiors painted.
Solar Innovations www.solarinnovations.com
Dynamic Windows & Doors www.dynamicwindows.com
Baldwin www.baldwinhinges.com
Interior finishes
Cabinetwork and custom woodwork:
– Masonite in kitchen and hall study, Plain sawn Honduras mahogany veneers in study and master bathroom
– Quarter sawn white oak in dining room and seating nook
– QSWO countertops in kitchen
– Stair treads, landing, living room and main hallway shelving is 2” thick reclaimed Heart Pine.
Floor and wall tile:
– Heathermoor Slate (Hall) Vermont Structural Slate www.vermontstructuralslate.com
– Jade Gray Slate (Chimney) VSS www.vermontstructuralslate.com
– Kota Brown Slate (Chimney - exterior) VSS www.vermontstructuralslate.com
– Teak Slate (kids’ bath) VSS www.vermontstructuralslate.com

Specified by C&J Katz Studio
Lightolier recessed can lights www.Lightolier.com
Task lighting:
Lightolier www.lightolier.com
Sconces – Nightscaping www.nightscaping.com
Ceiling Fans:
Modern Fan Co. www.modernfan.com
Accessibility provision:
Ramps in the organizing hall from the kitchen to the (now) guest wing are a universal design feature that will allow the homeowners to eventually live on one floor.
Volo by Dornbracht www.dornbracht.com
– Phillipe Stark, Edition II by Duravit (Guest bathroom) www.duravit.com
– Custom 30”x30” soaking tub by Robert’s Hot Tubs (Kids’ bath)
Geothermal Heating/Cooling Pump:
Chris Oreo
Water and Energy Systems:
Atkinson, NH www.w-esco.com
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