Dutchess House is a Low Energy Home Clad in Aluminum

Dutchess House

Dutchess House is a sustainable, contemporary residence designed by New York architects Grzywinski + Pons. The house is located in Millerton, New York, USA.

From the arhitects: When we were commissioned to design this house we were excited by a directive from the client that was very specific programmatically and where budget had primacy, but open to whatever form that might manifest from our process in addressing the clients’ requests.

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The Dutchess house was conceived as country home initially used as a complement to and reprieve from their apartment in the city that could ultimately evolve into a primary residence. They wanted a detached cottage or guest house that could accommodate their visiting elderly parents for extended stays from the west coast and be available to rent out on a nightly basis at their discretion to help defray costs. Another request was to create a place that felt very open to it’s beautiful surroundings yet could be battened down and secured during any extended periods when it was unoccupied. Furthermore, the client – when anticipating stays in the house alone – requested we create a master bedroom suite that allowed unfettered access to the outdoors (both physically and visually) from a safe “perch” when the ground floor was secured for the night.

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We paid special attention to sightlines, exposures, seasonal variations in the quality and direction of light and the flow and integration of interior and exterior spaces.

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We also were focused on making the home very sustainable and energy efficient – while this informed the design of the home in a significant way we didn’t want the house and cottage to wear their green credentials on their sleeve as an aesthetic. The house was built with ICFs, strategically glazed with low-e assemblies and clad in high albedo mill finish aluminum. We designed deep eaves into the largest expanses of glass based on our solar studies.

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The home and cottage ended up being so well insulated that we needed to specify an EVR unit for fresh air exchange.

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An on demand hot water system precludes any wasted energy on water heaters when the home is unoccupied and also heats the home through a hydronic radiant slab. Low flow fixtures, dual flush toilets, LED lighting, high efficiency appliances and sustainably grown lumber were all specified and employed.

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We wanted to make sure that the house felt very warm and happy – a truly convivial environment – while unabashedly modern and durable.

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The natural environment is the star of the show and each room or interior space is predicated on celebrating that. Even the exterior cladding, specified for performance – matte aluminum and ipe – was designed to amplify the progression of hues both throughout the day and throughout the seasons.

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