Architects: Architecture Research Office
Location: Syracuse, New York, USA
Project Team: (Architecture Research Office) Principals: Stephen Cassell and Adam Yarinsky; Project Manager: Megumi Tamanaha; Project Team: Melissa Eckerman, Jane Lea, Neil Patel, Anne-Marie Singer. (Della Valle Berheimer Architects) Principals: Jared Della Valle, Andrew Bernheimer; Project Architect: Garrick Jones; Project Team: Lara Shihab Eldin, Janine Soper
Project Year: 2008-2011
Area: 1,100 sf
Construction budget: $150,000
Clients: Home HeadQuarters, Inc., Syracuse University Center for Excellence, Syracuse University School of Architecture
Photographs: Richard Barnes
Architecture Research Office and Della Valle Bernheimer are winners of the design competition From the Ground Up: Innovative Green Homes. The prototype residence envisioned in our entry, called R-House, will be built by Home HeadQuarters Inc later this year in Syracuse, NY.
R-House presents an affordable, innovative paradigm for minimal energy consumption embodied in architecture that nurtures the spirit and engages the community. Its compact exterior belies expansive and luminous spaces within. The design meets the German Passivhaus standard, requiring only the equivalent energy of a hair dryer for heating. Designed for high economic and practical performance, R-House strengthens the physical and social structure of Syracuse’s Near Westside neighborhood.
R-House transforms a typical gabled roof into a simply folded surface that recalls the appearance and scale of neighboring houses. Tucked within the house are a front porch and rear deck whose translucent walls cast an inviting glow after dark. Windows and skylights open the interior to views and are optimized to receive south light. The roof and walls are sheathed with corrugated aluminum. The silver color, muted reflectivity and fine texture of this cladding contribute to a sense of vibrancy that counters the gray winter months.
The 1,100sf interior is airy and bright. A two-story tall space on the south side of the house, lit by large windows that open to a view of the rear yard, is bounded by the stairwell and the Master Bedroom on the second floor. Humble, carefully detailed materials, such as concrete, wood floor boards and plywood panels, imbue warmth and integrity. Translucent polycarbonate panels cover the east wall of the bedrooms, creating a soft, luminous boundary between the “private” and “public” areas of the house.