Designed as a stairway to the treetops, the Tower House by Architect Peter Gluck is a vacation home that aims to disturb the surrounding woodland site as minimally as possible. Keeping the foot print to a minimum, Gluck's design takes a conventional single story home and turns it vertically. Each of the first three floors has a small bedroom and bath laid out as tiny suites. On the top floor, the kitchen. dining and living area are all combined and spread out from the central tower like the surrounding forest canopy. This provides awe inspiring views of the lake and mountains in the distance. At the very top, an outdoor roof terrace extended above the living space above the treetops, offering a stunning firewatch-like lookout experience. "The glass-enclosed stair also highlights the procession from forest floor to treetop aerie, while the dark green, back-painted glass exterior camouflages the house by reflecting the surrounding woods, de-materializing its form."
Sustainable design with minimal operating costs and maintenance was imperative, especially since this home is only occupied for parts of the year. "The stacked north-facing bedrooms take advantage of light and views with floor to ceiling glass. In order to optimize energy savings for heating and cooling in this part-time residence, a two part sustainable strategy was employed to reduce the heating footprint of the house in the winter and to avoid the need for air conditioning in the summer."
Compressing and stacking the "wet-zones" of the house in an insulated central core allows parts of the home to be “turned off” in the winter when not in use even though the house is heated conventionally. "When not in use, only 700 square feet of the 2,545 square foot house is heated. By closing the building down to only the insulated core, there is a 49% reduction in energy use." Passive design allows for the house to feel comfortable without air conditioning in the summer time. This is accomplished with cool air being drawn in and through the house using the stack effect. In addition, south-facing glass throughout the stairwell creates a solar chimney and as the heated air rises, it is exhausted out the top, drawing in fresh air through the house from the cooler north side.
Overall, this is a great example of a home that celebrates its surrounding environment, creating a minimal footprint in such a precious atmosphere. A case study model was easily constructed using Arckit components.
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