Designed by Cook+Fox Architects, the Live Work Home in Syracuse, New York has earned a LEED for New Construction Platinum rating from USGBC. The project was entered in the From the Ground Up competition, which was launched back in 2008 by Syracuse University’s School of Architecture. The single-family housing design contest charged teams with creating a compact (between 1100 and 1500 square feet), affordable ($150,000 construction budget) and modern green home for Syracuse’s depressed 550-acre Near Westside district.
The 1400-square-foot Live Work Home was completed in 2010. As were all of the From the Ground Up entries, the project was conceived in response to the demographic and social changes confronting the urban fabric in Rust Belt cities like Syracuse. Cook+Fox thus sought to reconsider the definition of the home in the twenty-first century context. The Live Work Home is a modest, column-free loft with sliding doors and mobile partitions that allow for flexible, multi-purpose use (and waste-free remodeling) during the structure’s life cycle.
The design also responded to the climate and ecology of Western New York, whose long, gray winters require natural daylighting within any definition of sustainable architecture. The orientation of the Live Work Home maximizes solar exposure. Its interior is also illuminated by skylight tube penetrations through the roof. And a perforated screen wraps the western and northern facades of the house, filtering daylight into interior spaces. The building envelope was constructed with SIPs and heating is delivered through an efficient radiant flooring system (which also provides flexibility in room planning compared with standard heating systems).
The lot’s original home – and an adjacent warehouse – were deconstructed and old-growth pine and hemlock salvaged and repurposed into the Live Work Home’s floors and cabinets. And the landscape architecture includes low-maintenance, drought-tolerant native grasses and rain barrels. Syracuse non-profit Home HeadQuarters served as the project’s construction manager and also trained a team of construction apprentices in green building practices. Owners John and Kathy Miranda moved into the Live Work Home in November of 2010. In keeping with its design intent, the couple is using the space as both personal living quarters and the home of their environmental consulting business.
Cook+Fox, of course, has designed numerous LEED buildings and spaces in New York City, many of which we’ve written about previously here at gbNYC. As you may recall, Brooklyn-based Della Valle Bernheimer and Manhattan-based Architecture Research Office took top honors in the From the Group Up contest for their two-story R-House: designed to use as much electricity as a hair dryer.