Jun. 25th Building Your Home can be Affordable in the City

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Studio Luz Architects designed the Meyer Residence to balance aesthetics, high performance building systems, and affordability. Developed on a vacant lot, and with close consultation with neighbors and community leaders, Studio Luz sought to create a new home that was uniquely crafted to allow for a growing family to stay in the neighborhood. Through modern design sensibilities and careful working of materials, the result is a home that nestles into a hillside and pulls the outside in. The house is Energy Star certified, utilizing high performance appliances, air tight construction, foam insulation that exceeds code, high performance glazing systems, mini-split heating and cooling, on-demand hot-water service, rain water management on site, as well a suite of ecologically sensitive finishes.

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One example of bespoke made affordable is the building envelope; through a careful choreography of construction a custom vertical wood cladding was made using panels that were pre-cut off-site and then clipped on to a rainscreen system in the field. The wood selected is IBAMA and SEMA certified IPE siding. Aedi Construction, the contractor for the project, brought their expertise in green construction and worked creatively to coordinate all of the custom off-site fabrication using typical home building methods and materials.


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On the interior, the central stair space is another example of the balance between performance and aesthetic affect. The stair performs both as a way to circulate through the house, but also as a large semi transparent light well, penetrating all levels of the house. The perforations in the stair treads and risers allow for air to circulate through the house with ease and create beautiful visual effects with sunlight and maintain visual connections. The use of the bent metal produced a very thin stair profile, eliminating expressed structural supports, adding a sense of levity.

Features of the home promote family living, including a central kitchen space that unites living and dining areas. Some others include bookshelves that have hidden work surfaces and shared closet areas to promote interaction among the family.

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The windows allow for ample day lighting, with strategic apertures for southern light, and panoramic windows that frame the landscaped hillside. There is a garden view to the east framed by picture windows that allow the first rays of sunrise to dapple in through the trees. The landscape was designed by C2 | Studio Landscape Architecture based in Fort Collins, CO.

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Neighborhood Initiatives:

The Meyer St. Residence is located on the periphery of the Woodbourne Historic area of Jamaica Plain. The neighborhood‘s planning is inspired by the garden city movement. Most recently, there have been a number of individual and city initiatives to make development within the neighborhood examples for energy efficient building strategies. One example is the Boston’s Positive (E+) Green Building Demonstration Program, developed to create more affordable energy positive homes in the city and encouraging the use of ecologically minded design strategies. Studio Luz Architects took on the challenge of designing a house that promotes environmental responsibility in building and leads by example by incorporating affordable energy efficient systems. Recently, within one block of the Meyer Street residence, four other homes have been developed with high performance and ecologically sensitive strategies. We see this project contributing to the long-term vitality of the neighborhood and city.

The Meyer Street Residence was featured in an article “Local Architects build ‘supergreen’ dream house” written by Rebeca Oliveira in the Jamaica Plain Gazette. For additional project images, we invite you to visit our website.

Sep. 21st E+ Green Building Housing

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THIS PROPOSAL SEEKS TO OBTAIN LEED PLATINUM, HERS INDEX: -9

Studio Luz Architect’s proposal for Mayor Menino’s Energy Positive E+ Green Building Demonstration Program is on exhibit at the Boston Architectural College’s McCormick Gallery through September 25. Studio Luz Architects partnered with Urbanica Design + Development for the 64 Catherine Street site in Jamaica Plain, Boston. The design competition was held by the City of Boston on city-own property to promote the next generation of high performance deep green building prototypes in Boston.

Passive and Active Systems Diagram

It is imperative to create homes that are in harmony with the environment in which they operate. To achieve this requires not only a radical shift in the design of buildings but an encouragement of new living patterns and sensitivity to economical viability.

View from Catherine StreetView from Rear Yard

Our proposal introduces the townhouse type to the Jamaica Plain Woodbourne neighborhood, contributing to the diversity of homes in the area while remaining respectful of the existing neighborhood character. The building consists of two typical units, approximately 1,500 sf each, sharing a mirror twin relationship with the central party wall. Variations in proportion and scale are developed as a response to the unique triangular site configuration. We see this as a soft prototype, where the spatial layout and systems of a basic unit can be adapted to fit the specific demands of the site, its context and particular climate.

Massing Development