Sited in one of San Antonio’s oldest neighborhoods, this innovative single-family residence was built upon the architect and client's mutual respect for the environment. With the foundation of sustainability as a responsible and moral obligation, the challenge was to balance innovative technologies with time honored techniques while also integrating with the historic context of the neighborhood.
While the project achieves 67% offset with photovoltaic panels, and incorporates a green roof, LED lighting, grey-water and rain-water harvesting; there was additional effort to reduce impact through careful planning and consideration of the site. New construction was designed to re-use the existing foundation as well as wood from the previous structure. Passive systems such as arbors and overhangs were implemented to reduce solar gain, while the entire project was sited to protect the number of existing heritage oaks throughout the site.
At the ground floor changes in level, stepping up over the pool along the main entry bridge and back down again from the kitchen to the living area, provide a playful dialogue and transition between public spaces, even as a largely open floor plan and generous windows act to connect these spaces to each other and the outdoors. Additionally, wall-to-wall sliding doors in the living area open up to expand the room out into the pool and landscape that provides additional outdoor space for entertaining and gathering of friends and loved ones. The entry bridge spanning the pool enlivens these outdoor spaces with a grotto waterfall niche that compliments the cool shade of the heritage trees that reside throughout the yard. This rhythm is mirrored at the second floor as a series of folding doors in the 'party room' open to a large out-door terrace in the tree canopies, which again steps down to its own 'landscape' green roof garden with hot tub that takes in distance vistas of downtown.
These forms not only provide elegant spaces, but also a stage for promotion of the core sustainability principles that produced it. Meeting and exceeding sustainability standards (Energy Star - Gold, NAHB Green Building - Emerald, and Build SA Green - Level 3) acts as a catalyst to encourage sustainability and responsible design in future projects with-in San Antonio and beyond.