The Toronto & Region Conservation Authority (TRCA) & Design Exchange (DX) Archetype for the Living City, Sustainable House Competition, March 2006
Monica E. Kuhn, Architect Team Concept Home wins 3rd Prize, "Best Visual Presentation Award"
At the Awards Gala Event at the Design Exchange on June 21st, 2006.
For further information on the results of the Awards Dinner, please follow the DX link on our Links page.
The Winning Team (Dan was not able to attend) after the presentations at the model display
Congratulations to everyone for their effort and dedication to Sustainable Housing
A view of the Model and display panels at the DX. The whole exhibit will now go on tour to a number of North American cities over the next couple of months.
Description of the Monica E. Kuhn Team Entry
This following is a description of our winning entry into the TRCA/DX Archetype for the Living City, Sustainable House Competition of March 2006. Entries were invited to showcase the sustainable design possibilities as they apply to Suburban Housing. The winning entry will have the opportunity to see their design built as a prototype at the Kortwright Centre, north of Toronto.
Our project dispels the myth that “sustainable design” is a luxury few can afford. Sustainable design can be the universal standard, not the option or the upgrade. Design features ranging from the house’s orientation on the site (to maximize passive solar opportunities) to the finishes on the walls all protect the environment and help to improve human health. Base building materials include modular and prefabricated products which allow for ease of construction, mass production, deconstruction, and limited waste. All systems, assemblies and materials are selected for their low environmental impact, durability, positive affect on indoor air quality, aesthetic appeal, economics, and user friendliness.
As Designers and Environmentalists, it would be easy to reject the suburb, but that would neither stop the sprawl, nor the cultural needs that drive it. Our approach, instead, is to accept the subdivision as a strategy for development, and turn it into “development with a positive impact.” The result: our design strategy regenerates the land, provides a healthy and flexible living environment for people of all ages and cultures, and is economically viable – both to build, and to maintain.
Through a thoughtful, integrated design process, which values the benefits of natural systems, our project demonstrates that it is possible to build a home that is beautiful and comfortable; a home that is connected to its environment and to the community; a home that costs no more, and yet is easier to operate than today’s standard; a home that is easily adaptable to the changing needs of a family over time; a home that is an asset, rather than a burden to future generations.
DX Archetype House from the Front/Street
DX Archetype House from the Rear
Water • runoff absorbed in vegetated or porous paver surfaces • rainwater reused in drip irrigation system • drought-tolerant plants reduce water need • overland drainage captured & filtered in bioswales with Living Walls
Microclimate • deciduous trees shade south side & paved surfaces • vines shade west glazing • green roof cools house & benefits regional climate • light colour paving reduces heat island effect
Wildlife Habitat • all gardens feature bird, butterfly habitat eg.fruiting hedge-row & ‘green spine’ forage planting • indigenous plant material used throughout
Low Maintenance • turf reinvented with Eco-Lawn fescue blend • drip-irrigation & mulched beds • decks & gates of no-maintenance recycled plastic lumber • Living Wall replaces board fence
Adaptability • design allows easy split into semi-detached • ramp & stairs allow two-level split with barrier-free ground floor
The Mechanical Core, running North / South through the house and the mechanical room below it, allows for the concentration of all pipes, ducts and vents in one central location in the house, with the ability to easily access, maintain and modify the systems as required. These systems include electrical panels, plumbing and heating manifolds, the heat recovery ventilator, the domestic hot water tank and the composting toilet tank. A filter and cistern at the South end collect rainwater for irrigation and greywater use and an earth tube below acts as a pre-heat and pre-cool for the HRV. Utilities and water are piped in from the CLUB.
The Circulation Core, running East / West through the house, contains operable windows at the top to bring day-lighting into the centre of the house and to allow for passive venting of warm air in the summer and recirculation of captured warm air in winter. This contains the stairs, as well as access to the rooftop garden and terrace.
The building envelope is designed to maximize insulation and decrease the need for heating and cooling. Insulated composite blocks, structural insulated panels, vegetated roofs and triple glazed windows with insulated fibreglass frames, in combination with other sustainable building materials, create assemblies that consistently surpass OBC thermal requirements by min. 50%.
Upgrades to the mechanical system include a wood stove for back-up heating, photovoltaics to be installed on guardrails and sunshades for additional electricity and a living wall in the Circulation Core to increase air filtration and humidity.
Beautiful, bright, airy and comfortable, the Adaptability Insite home is a dependable anchor with a flexible layout for your growing, changing family.
Archetype House Section
Ground Floor Plan
• Sunspace controls heat gain
• Certified forest paper-based and concrete countertops with no added formaldehyde
Interior View of Kitchen Area
5 ACRE SITE
The money usually spent by a developer to connect to the grid is redirected to the construction of the CLUB. The CLUB is maintained either by the municipality, a private energy supplier / micro-utility on contract, or a Co-operative. The CLUB sells its utilities, at controlled prices, to the individual homeowners, who experience no change from the standard method of supply and payment. The CLUB also handles snow removal, landscaping of public greenspaces, and the removal of blackwater from home composting toilet tanks. The Municipality continues to supply fire hydrants.
The CLUB location is designed as a focus for the community – not only as the known source of the services that keep their homes functioning, but also as a vital social node. The Living Machine, with its greenhouse full of plants and aquatic life, becomes a warm destination in winter months, and is connected to a café. Plants grown in the tanks can be sold at a weekly market, along with locally grown produce from the surrounding area. Outside, the site includes a bus stop, a car-share pickup and drop-off spot, visitor and overflow parking, mailboxes, a courier pick up, a public phone, and a public playground. When the density increases - as we have assumed it will - or if the subdivision grows, then the CLUB can expand to house more services such as a convenience store, a communal room, a photocopier, a daycare, a lending library, and a laundry facility.
Layout for 5 Acre Community
(Note CLUB Building is near the Orange Area on Middle Right)
Competition Team #10 is made up of the following participants:
Mechanical & Environmental Engineers:
Interior Design Consultant:
The Team Would Like to Acknowledge and Thank the Following People:
Don Noble; Greensaver for EnerGuide & Energy Efficiency Rating
Ronghui Li, Illustrator for the Concept House - www.ronji-design.com
You can see the complete presentation along with all the other entries now at the design exchange through June 2006 and going to our Links page and selection DX Competition.