civitas is a new residence that seeks to publicly and physically illustrate the shared responsibility of solving our environmental issues one project at a time. The home is meant to instigate a dialogue about architecture with the greater public about a future carbon-neutral built environment. It will be the first Carbon Neutral, Net Zero Energy home in the region and should receive a LEED v4 Platinum rating.
Careful site analysis and energy modeling directed a selection of the most effective sustainable strategies suited for a home in Memphis’ hot, humid southern environment. Taking second glances at locally sourced and virtually maintenance free material yielded a solution of thin layers performing together in innovative ways. The façade operates like the 21 strategically redundant and interdependent thin layers of the Apollo 7L spacesuit, as described in Spacesuit: Fashioning Apollo. For example, thin, expanded metal mesh and a translucent, plastic building façade work together to provide a rain + solar screen that cools the façade in the summer and warms the façade in the winter.
The home uses a new, internationally influenced archetype with an emphasis on design excellence in order to better solve our basic need of shelter. Traditional, Southern design strategies have also been reinterpreted with a new language. A convertible screen porch doubles as a fireplace in the winter. The design visually establishes the intersection of the two primary social functions of a home, the public and the private. The public volume, expressed as a pavilion, comprises the first floor. The space of the pavilion transforms from a public to private space as one moves from west to east, and from south to north. The upper volume is a private space with sleeping, studying, bathing and fitness activities.