The December/January issue of Dwell profiles the Carpenter Residence, designed by New York City-based GRO Architects. Conceived to be both energy-efficient and cost-effective, the house was built with 18 prefabricated insulated concrete panels and sits on a 1300-square-foot lot in emerging neighborhood in Jersey City which owner Denis Carpenter purchased for $45,000.
Back in 2006, Mr. Carpenter asked the New Jersey chapter of the AIA whether there was an architect willing – and able – to design the house inside of his $250,000 budget; the Carpenter Residence’s final construction costs checked in at $252,000.
Radiant heating coils underneath the concrete basement floor and bamboo main floor heat the house in the winter; there is no air conditioning system, but there are cooling fans throughout. The house boasts a green roof and its pitched roof also includes an $8,000, 260-square-foot solar array, which Carpenter estimates should pay for itself within five years. Cedar screens on the front and back of the house play down the architects’ use of concrete and allow the Carpenter Residence to blend into its surroundings. Access to the Hudson-Bergen light rail system is just a few blocks away.
Dwell notes that GRO has “come to see the house as a model for urban infill redevelopment – a system that can be ‘mass customized’ for specific settings while leveraging the cost savings that go along with the use of prefabricated components.”