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Green architecture – Shavano Park House

By Damir Beciri
10 June 2010

shavano-park-house-in-texas-by-mckinney-york-architects-1In this article we’re going to write about a beautiful modern house which has (some of the planned) sustainable features. The Shavano Park House is a modern structure that is suitable for displaying art-glass collection. We emphasized that only some of the planned sustainable features were incorporated, since the designers from McKinney York Architects, had restrictions in sustainable feature usage because of the location it is built on.

Aside the fact some architects avoid the use of solar panels because of their aesthetics, in some parts of the world actual usage of solar panels and skipping national power grid is prohibited, while in other parts of the world new housing developments prohibit the use of solar panels because they’re considered to be unsightly. The development’s design restrictions in a new development area in Shavano Park, Texas, went from prohibiting photovoltaics to forbidding flat roofs and even dictating certain materials.

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The house is a 370 square meters (4,000 square feet), one-story building spread out on its lot in a series of rectangular pavilions connected by glass linkages and wrapped around a pool, with a transparent center section that allows views through to other parts of the house and beyond. Connections to the outside were achieved with strategic glazing, the pool, a screened porch, and patios on either side of the house.

Clean lines, defined geometries, and dramatic moments define the house—such as a dropped, ipe-wood ceiling in the dining room and a fireplace that appears to float in an unexpected corner of the living space.

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The house is mostly low-maintenance, but because the program called for space to display the vast collection of blown glass, there has to be a few bottles of glass cleaner around. The client’s love of glass was primary in the house’s design, so the house was created to achieve a connection between her collection, lighting, and the changing patterns of incoming sunlight. Display cases with reconstituted wenge wood cabinets beneath add to the geometry rather than detract or clutter it and bring warmth and contrast to the polished, concrete floors.

Sustainable initiatives include pool source heat pump with supplementary cooling tower, natural ventilation, daylighting, LED and fluoroscent lighting, spray foam insulation, sealed attic, tankless water heating, concrete floors and usage of native plants.

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“It’s the house I wanted,” said the house owner, “and the house I asked for.” Furthermore, it is designed to be retrofitted for a few more things she wants, like solar panels, when the development realizes how beautiful they really are. Maybe the upcoming transparent solar panels and solar panels we described in our previous article could help them change their mind.

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