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  • Nicolas Koff

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Project Description

To reconcile the client’s needs for a home that is both familiarly comfortable yet sustainable, K-House inserts the unfamiliar within the familiar, infusing sustainable living practices within accepted notions of domestic comfort. The house explores how we can harness our understanding of culturally-ingrained lifestyles in order to affect change, reforming perceptions of suburban comfort from within. While true to its beloved domesticity, the house becomes an active agent of change within its context. The design interacts with the natural flows of the site, sun, water, wildlife and flora, making seasonality integral to the experience of the home.

K-House is located near a conservation area and the landscape design, composed of native and non-invasive species, cradles the house as if embedded within the conservation area itself. A system of channels, concrete dams, swales, and porous pavers manages stormwater from on-site and uphill neighbouring properties, replenishing the aquifer, thereby reducing strain on the municipal drainage system and the conservation area.

K-House uses the image of the suburban home to become the first electrically net-zero straw house in Hamilton (thanks to 36 solar panels located on the roof), rethinking the traditional spaces and features of the suburban house to create opportunities for sustainable mechanisms (like proper cross-ventilation and high-efficiency fireplaces). The house itself is composed of 16” thick prefabricated strawbale walls clad in magboard, plaster and shou-sugi-ban (charred eastern white cedar to replace suburban vinyl siding, insuring longevity and protecting against rot), creating a breathable yet optimally insulated building envelope (R-40).

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