Goals of Innovation: A central goal of the project was to create a progressive home that challenged standard residential building techniques, and stereotypes associated with “green” architecture and construction. The owners, whose family has been part of the island for four generations, were determined to have a modern house, yet one that responded carefully to the island vernacular. The home was intended to be environmentally sound, as well as an exploration of new possibilities for environmental design and residential green construction.
Description: The project was seen as a prototype, with an emphasis on celebrating both the aesthetic and the functional potential of sustainable construction.
Obstacles: New building on this island is a sensitive matter. In recent years, many people have built grand vacation homes, which stand as vacant and ostentatious reminders of the difficulties threatening the viability of rural island communities. While the owners of this project are year-round island residents, an important challenge was formulating a design for a thoroughly modern home, that acknowledged and embraced its island location, but would not appear pretentious or disconnected. This kind of outward expression was achieved through a highly collaborative design process, and careful attention to the island context. In the end, selective use of traditional materials and vernacular building forms assembled in new and unusual ways, provided the opportunity to delicately connect the otherwise competing ideas of new and old.
Cost Information: This was a design intensive project form start to finish. The design budget constituted about 5% of the total project cost. However this number would have been significantly higher if not for two important factors: 1. The design costs were offset by the Design/Build nature of this project, allowing the design to be communicated to the field crews with fewer detail drawings and greater collaboration with subcontractors. 2. The owner/clients active involvement in the construction process allowed for more of the project management time to be used on design details, product research, and sourcing of materials.
Additional Benefits/Drawbacks: As a prototype, the house offers an exciting example of new possibilities in sustainable design and construction, and demonstrates design compatible with long-term occupancy. Consequently, many of the island residents have toured the home; both interested in its unique individual features and the home as a model for future island development.