LocationMasonville, United States
Architect in ChargeAndrew Michler
Other participantsParr Custom Builders
MARTaK Passive House is set in the Colorado Rocky Mountains at an elevation of 6800 feet. The small residence is the first certified international Passive House in Colorado and is built without foam products or other energy intensive materials.
During my research for my book Hyperlocalization of Architecture I was deeply moved by contemporary small Japanese architecture. Rather than design program around use I chose to keep the floor plan as open as possible. The space can adapt to large gatherings or intimate stays. The upper story space is acoustically connected to the main level via a net bed. This also provides a light well to reduce what could be a cramped interior.
Interior finish materiality is restricted to FSC plywood, cedar, tile, and plasterboard to emphasize light and space. A space saving staircase made from plywood boxes visually anchors the elongated living area. The second floor is supported by vertical and horizontal nail-laminated timbers.
A wedge shape footprint improves solar exposure to the south and preserves three mature Ponderosa Pine trees adjacent to the building. The trees maintain the local habitat and provide critical shade in summer and early fall. The massing of the project is informed by local mountain formations called Hogbacks which have a steep uniform slope with a ridge of boulders. The east side, featuring an outdoor room, is reminiscent of a cabin which is reinforced by the wood exterior composed of cedar picket.
To reduce embodied energy and improve life cycle potential the envelope uses no foam products, relaying on mineral wool and cellulose for insulation, and studs and plywood for structure and the air barrier. Other material choices abide by cradle to cradle methodologies. The exterior wall cavity is covered with mineral wool board and fiber cement siding. In addition the steel roof and tempered triple pane windows provides fire resilience.
The home’s heating energy consumption is 90% less than local code, and electrical use is also limited by the off grid solar power system. Quality of life is not restricted however as the highly insulated envelope and low power consumption equipment like the Heat Recovery Ventilator keeps occupants snug and with plenty of fresh air.
Product Description. The Intus U-PVC triple pane tilt and turn windows feature super spacers and high SHGC IGUs. The windows provide significant solar heat gains and minimizing heat losses while meeting critical minimum surface air temperatures required by the Passivhaus Institut. This allowed for liberal use of glazing to the south while maintaining energy load thresholds required for Passive House certification.