Set on a prime piece of ground on the southern edge of the Lake Eola historic district in downtown Orlando, Fla., with a view of the city's signature water feature, the three-story, 5,283-square-foot house is a legitimate and welcome addition to the neighborhood.
Despite the fact that concrete is a common structural material in Florida, precast concrete walls and floor panels are less popular, especially in the residential realm. As with other aspects of its design and operation, The New American Home 2007 stretches the industry by building with this panelized system—one that not only complies with strict regional codes for high winds and other extreme climate conditions, but also builds the shell in about one-third the time of a CMU system.
Like the street-level retail and small professional offices provided under the condos sprouting up around Lake Eola, the home's main floor offers occasional and functional spaces for the household.
The architect used what was left in terms of the home's allowable height to blow the third level to a 10-foot ceiling, making this space the most loft-like of the three living areas. It also has the advantage of mostly unencumbered natural light, which the design leverages through extensive windows on opposite elevations and an accordion-style patio door out to the balcony.
In recent years, The New American Home has been a beacon of innovation with regard to energy and resource efficiency, earning local and national distinction for low energy consumption and the use of sustainable construction materials and methods.
The New American Home is a two-year commitment that stretches the limits of even the most organized and efficient builder. In 2007, the team met the additional challenges of historic-district oversight and a tight downtown lot. Working together, the team of Homes by Carmen Dominguez, architect Bloodgood Sharp Buster, Robb & Stucky Interiors, and landscape architect Glatting Jackson Kercher Anglin—not to mention a host of consultants, suppliers, and subs—fulfilled the vision and continued the legacy of the industry's longest-running show home series.
The New American Home would not be possible without the support of the members of the National Council of the Housing Industry (NCHI)/Supplier 100, as well as a legion of local and regional suppliers and installers. More than 40 NCHI members contributed products to this year's house and provided consulting services and installation support to the design-build team for a truly memorable collaboration.