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A House for an Ecologist: A Design Ideas Competition

The ecologist pursues knowledge of an organism’s interaction within its environment. This idea could not be lost in their home design. In designing EH-ONE, our team employed modern and traditional technologies to enhance the ecologist’s own interaction while focusing on their comfort and changing needs. Our goal was to seamlessly blend science and design.

Basic decisions resulted from a site investigation. Orientation and materials were discovered by focusing on geography, context and history. Looking at historical and surrounding structures led to the use of natural stone and metal panels. The orientation resulted from the desire to employ natural thermal retention, daylighting, and natural ventilation. The envelope reflects the type of activity within. The private office area above, clad with corrugated copper panels, invokes industry, while the public section embedded within the earth and using natural stone is related to nature. Embedding the structure into the slope assists in maintaining consistent indoor temperatures. By placing the private section to the East and the public section to the West, sunlight will follow the ecologist throughout the day as the major source of lighting. Based on prevailing wind patterns, operable windows to the South and West take advantage of cooling breezes.

The roof is where most of the interaction of systems takes place. The sun will directly heat air and water through clear panels. The water is for bathing and washing, while the air will be pumped through the chase and through floor vents when needed. The energy load has been reduced through these steps, with additional energy production from roof-mounted photovoltaic solar panels. The roof slope has been designed to harmonize with the site topography while harvesting water into cisterns. Bio-ponds treat grey-water.

Shepherdstown, West Virginia

Interior Design

Competition Sponsors
AIA Committee on Design
AIA Committee on the Environment

Project Metrics
1,500 SF



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