The Swede Hill House comes to us from Newport, Rhode Island-based design-builders Aquidneck Properties. Designed by architects Estes/Twombly, also of Newport, the 3000-square-foot home will be located on four protected acres of Block Island, which is just off the coast of Rhode Island and east of Montauk Point. The house is situated, as you might have guessed, on a hill that faces both south and west, providing spectacular ocean views back towards Montauk. The Swede Hill House is registered under the LEED for Homes program and will pursue a Silver level of certification from USGBC.
The house itself offers four bedrooms (plus a guest suite, on top of which solar panels will be installed) and is being offered as a single-family residence. Green design features include solar-heated domestic hot water and fifteen percent of all interior heat; the house’s swimming pool is also solar-powered. A graywater system will provide landscape irrigation (though the property does not have a lawn) and all shower heads and toilets are low-flow. Given the high winds that sweep across Block Island, the structural design of the house considers those additional wind loads.
Nevertheless, as you can see in the images, the house will benefit from those winds through a design that both maximizes cross-ventilation, as well as considers other passive solar and daylighting techniques. Efficient HVAC systems will offer a high SEER rating and building materials include locally-sourced stone and reclaimed wood. Nick Downes of Aquidneck estimates that construction costs should check in at around $650 per square foot.
Although the property itself is four acres, the Swede Hill House occupies a relatively small footprint by comparison and appears to be well on its way towards marrying a strong sense of architectural place with green design. Our thanks to Mr. Downes for sharing this beautiful project with us; we’ll continue to check in with Aquidneck as construction commences and proceeds this summer.