Located on a site with captivating views of the Casco Bay, a small summer cottage evolved over many years, with additions and alterations, to become a hand-and-glove fit to its surroundings. The Y shaped floor plan of the house framed distinct views of the site with its unique form. Hardwood trees grew up around the house over time, visually pinning the house to the site, towering over and embracing it.
The Architect was engaged to design and rebuild a replacement for the existing home converting the seasonal cottage into a two-bedroom year-round residence that captured the charm and unique site relationships of the existing structure with two caveats. The demolition and reconstruction of the home should not disturb the surrounding trees and the new home should meet the German Passive House standard, which represents a 90% improvement on space heating needs from code-compliant construction. Due to the zoning regulations, there was limited latitude in developing the building form, but the plan and location of windows could be adjusted to modernize the structure and improve its functionality as a year round residence.
The unique, single story, Y shaped plan of the building had a distinct energy-efficiency disadvantage, in that relative to the floor area, there was significant building shell area. In cold climates this results in greater heat loss than a more compact building form. Because the option to reconfigure the floor plan of the building was not available, the energy-efficiency of the building was achieved through an improved building shell that optimized passive solar gain.
Passive solar heat was captured by adding large floor to ceiling windows that maximized solar gain and views to the bay as its predecessor did many years before.