The Essential House is a logical progression from our EDGE project. This house takes fantasy to reality. We had a lot of positive feedback, but in terms of an actual, day to day, living house; most people wanted more. Many aspects of the EDGE were done as true Art and as an expression of making an architectural statement; trying to educate and inform that consumption is not always the best route to take. The Essential House takes the lessons learned at the EDGE and creates a very livable, concise house without succumbing to potential inadequacies.
In conjunction with Design Architect Daniel Yudchitz, the Essential house was born. This house utilizes the principals of Efficient Space Planning and Essential Construction Methods to minimize its impact on the environment. The house was conceived for an urban setting in the Rondo Neighborhood of St. Paul, Minnesota.
The house is powered by electricity. It has a 2KW photovoltaic system which supplies most of the electrical needs of the house. It features large south facing windows, which passively heat the thickened concrete slab. The exterior walls are constructed 11 inches thick with two sets of non-conducting framed walls and a cavity filled with cellulose insulation. Interior walls were kept to a minimum, in quantity and in thickness. Many of the walls were constructed of 3/4 inch Baltic Birch plywood in aluminum tracks that can be reconfigured as required by fluctuations in spatial needs. Stair railings were constructed of tempered glass to minimize obstructions in the space. As in the EDGE, kinetic walls were employed to get dual use out of the space available. The exterior is clad in a cedar rain screen in the courtyard and steel panels, with a 50 year finish, on the balance of the exterior.
We appreciated the opportunity to work with Dan on such a challenging project. We believe that this House will be one of the developments that will improve the Rondo neighborhood and act as a catalyst to spur additional new construction and renovations to the existing housing stock.