North South House

A tiny glassy house lost in a cold northern forest wraps itself around a double hearth. Absorbing the sun on its south side and blending into the landscape on the north side, it is a magical pace that allows the natural flows of the forest to crate comfort for its inhabitants. Its a bubble of warmth that maintains a visual and synergetic connection to the local ecosystem. It embeds itself in the snow and plays with the rain, captures the sun and wraps itself in a mossy skin. A terracotta shingle wrapper folds over the roof and northern face, leaving the other three faces to be covered by a layered transparent lattice. The solid north face collects shade and amplifies its potential. In the summer, moist and cool it becomes covered in moss, its surface scalloped to support the minute landscape. In the winter, the shade allows the snow to remain and pile up on the retaining wall to provide a layer of seasonal insulation. The south face is a place of light and warmth. It is primarily an inhabitable double envelope that holds a greenhouse and a two sided fireplace. In the cold months the house’s living space contracts, using the greenhouse as a thermal buffer. In the warmer months it expands into the green house and the western patio space as the glass walls open up, and eventually the greenhouse itself becomes porous.

The house has a living room that wraps around the hearth, and opens to the kitchen and ground floor bedroom/study. The high ceiling of the living room accommodates a sleeping loft above the kitchen and a storage loft above the bath. The greenhouse allows the homeowners to supplement their small outdoor farm in the winter months and grow fruit and vegetables that are found in more temperate zones.

Thermal heat gain is collected on the concrete surfaces and maintained because the house is set into the ground. In addition, radiant concrete floors and built in seating allow for comfort without excessive energy use.  An understanding of airflows is used to maintain heat and cool through earth coupling and air flow conduits that bring warm air to the occupied zones.  The house also collects water from both snow and rain into a cistern on the north, which provides the water required for four occupants. The house also boasts a composting toilet and treatment area as well as a proposed in ground artificial wetland that functions in cold climates to naturally processes graywater.