Adjacent to a preserve full of rolling sand dunes and low bushes of Long Island’s south shore (the secluded area is said to once have been used as a film location for desert scenes in silent movies), this passive vacation home by Bates + Masi Architects named “Amagansett Dunes” takes full advantage of its setting. A unique facade of vertical louvers made from twisted canvas strips let marine breezes pass through them to cool the interiors and let in natural light without the harsh afternoon glares.
If you’ve walked down Chinatown’s Canal Street then you’re certainly familiar with a string of stores at 312-322 Canal Street hawking cheap souvenirs to tourists and passersby. After a proposal to renew the depressed stretch of shops with a brand-new brick construction failed to pass Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) muster in 2011, a new, much more ambitious plan to replace the ramshackle building has finally emerged.
A massive, mixed-use development is moving ahead in East Harlem, reports Politico, as the city has selected Jonathan Rose Companies to work with L+M Development Partners on the 751,000-square-foot project. Dubbed Sendero Verde (“green pathway”), the site is located on the block bound by East 111th and 112th Streets and Park and Madison Avenues, and it will create 655 affordable passive house apartments, as well as a YMCA, job training center, 85,000-square-foot DREAM charter school, space for the local non-profit Union Settlement, a grocery store, restaurant, and preventative health care facility run by Mount Sinai.
Image courtesy of SOM by James Ewing
Historically, college dorms have been characterized by anything but great architecture. While many older institutions rent out rooms (“cells” may be a more apt description) in neo-gothic structures, newer institutions tend to house students in some of the world’s least inspiring modernist buildings (for an example, head over to the I.M. Pei towers that dominate NYU’s University Village). More recently, however, at least some colleges and universities have begun to acknowledge that where students live may have an impact on their performance. Financially savvy institutions have also started to link student housing options to student retention rates.
As a result, on many campuses, drab gray concrete structures with prison-size windows are finally giving way to light, glass and wood and to an entirely new range of built-in amenities. This means that whether or not all students know it, a growing number of them are now living in buildings on the cutting edge of contemporary design.
Work on the city’s first market-rate Passive House, Perch Harlem, is moving apace, and just in time for Earth Day, a bit of construction netting was taken down, giving passersby a glimpse of its super-insulated white exterior (good for heat deflection) and seamless rectangular windows. The seven-story structure rises midblock at 542 West 153rd Street and recently topped out in January. When finished later this year, its 34 units will boast superior workmanship, low energy bills and exceptional indoor air quality. The project’s developers, the Synapse Development Group with Taurus Investment Holdings, purchased the 10,000-square-foot former parking lot back in 2013 and have been growing their Perch brand of buildings that strive to provide environmentally low-impact living and community-oriented design.
The listing calls the townhouse at 25 West 88th Street “beyond mint,” and it’s certainly green enough to qualify. This 8,000- square-foot Central Park West home has gotten its fair share of publicity recently. In addition to being a landmarked 1910 historic beauty and having undergone a stem-to-stern modern overhaul, the home’s current owners, investment banker Kurt Roeloffs and his wife Shyanne, worked with the well-known Baxt/Ingui Architects to create an energy-efficient masterpiece that meets both LEED platinum and passive house standards. Even with all that efficiency, they didn’t skimp on luxury. With six floors (and an elevator) and a finished cellar, six bedrooms plus rooms dedicated to yoga, meditation, exercise and crafts, this may, in fact, be “one of the finest contemporary townhomes on the Upper West Side.”
A tipster has alerted us that Manhattan’s first market-rate rental building built to passive house standards has reached street level. Dubbed Perch Harlem, the soon-to-be-seven-story structure is located in the uppermost reaches of Harlem’s Hamilton Heights section at 542 West 153rd Street, between Broadway and Amsterdam Avenues.
“Perched”on a ridge 150 feet above sea level, the site overlooks the bucolic grounds of Trinity Cemetery, which is the only active burial ground on the island. The project’s forward-thinking developers, the Synapse Development Group with its investment partner Taurus Investment Holdings, purchased the 10,000-square-foot former parking lot back in December of 2013 and have since been growing their Perch brand of passive house buildings that focus on low-impact living and community-oriented design. A second Perch building is slated for Williamsburg at 646 Lorimer Street.
A new residential building may be coming to West 23rd Street next to Citizen condos. While no new building or demolition permits have been filed for the parcel, an eco-friendly design penned by Sven Peters in collaboration with VUW Studio / CastDesignStudios visualizes the site’s full zoning potential. Their 15-story conceptual design targets the “high-end, enviro-hedonist buyer,” yielding a 25,000-square-foot building with 15 full-floor loft residences and ground-level commercial space. Their website notes that the project will be designed under the German Passivhaus environmental standards and will incorporate the latest advancements in energy recovery, infiltration mitigation, and air purification.
When the owner of an existing house located in the woods in Amagansett approached Stelle Lomont Rouhani Architects, he requested a modern family residence that was as energy-efficient and sustainable as possible. With this in mind, the architects created the Green Woods House, a passive solar design that opens up towards the south, keeping the north-facing façade well insulated and private from the road. Read on to find out how the Bridgehampton-based studio managed to make someone’s dream home a reality with a limited budget and sloppy terrain.
This Daniels Lane residence consists of two contrasting parts—an existing stone beach house and a textured modern addition to its side. Settled atop a grassy site in the Southampton village of Sagaponack, this beautiful dwelling was re-designed by local studio Martin Architects, who not only created a striking second volume with a layer of wood screens, but cleverly lifted and rotated the old stone beach house to provide new views and more light.
BarlisWedlick Architects LLC joined forces with Bill Stratton Building Company to create this sweet, high-performance and very quick-to-build home. The stunning glazed dwelling sits within the Hudson Valley just two hours north of the city. Dubbed the Hudson Passive Project, this cutting-edge dream home is not only beautiful, it’s proudly New York State’s first-ever certified passive house.
Andreas M. Benzing, LEED-certified vice president of the New York Passive House, was the architect in charge of Westchester County’s first-ever passive home. Located in a close-knit community in Mamaroneck Harbor, this ultra energy-efficient split-level is actually a re-do of a gutted 1960s home. A modern temple of natural wood and glass, the dwelling features bright modern interiors and takes passive energy from the sun.
When this Park Slope brownstone was first built in 1899 we’re pretty sure energy efficient design wasn’t a guiding factor in its construction. But over 100 years later an award-winning Passive House retrofit by FABRICA 718 has turned this classic residence into one that consumes approximately 90% less heat energy than the average home and 75% less energy overall.
Keeping the plan of Mies van der Rohe’s Barcelona Pavilion in mind, New York-based architects Stamberg Aferiat created an eye-catching, colorful home. Built using industrially produced materials and current sustainable principles, the home features seemingly disjointed planes that create the overall geometry of the structure. Located in the island with the same name, the Shelter Island Pavilion is an experiment in color, shape, and sustainability.
We recently featured how Ryall Porter Sheridan renovated a 1970s house into a beautiful green retreat using Passive House standards. In a similar vein, the Manhattan-based architects have created a small artist’s shelter with comparable aesthetic, employing many of the same sustainable strategies throughout. Called ‘Orient Artist Studio’, this project on the north-fork of Long Island is clad in a beautifully aged timber envelope that protects its pristine white interiors.
Manhattan-based Ryall Porter Sheridan Architects recently renovated a 1970s house into a green escape that strictly follows Passive House standards. Located in Long Island just a few steps away from the sea, the minimal Orient House IV is completely clad in aged timber and features expansive north-facing windows that not only frame the beautiful views of its locale, but pulls in plenty of natural light. Designed to be more than just a vacation home, this stunning getaway is about as eco-friendly as it gets, and is said to be the second most energy-efficient structure on the island.