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Old 02-26-2011, 07:07 AM   #1 (permalink)
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How to design a single story house in a impressive way?

Im an 1st year architecture student. Im designing a timber eco house (a studio *** living room, kitchen *** dining room, toilet and bedroom) for my client which is a green architect (Wong Mun Summ, Singapore).

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Old 02-26-2011, 09:14 AM   #2 (permalink)
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You'd probably need to ask the client what sort of things impress him. If he's merely interested in looking green, then a log cabin with visible mud cement, unfaced strawbale insulation, and a centrally located firepit is a fine choice. Place the house on the north side of the street and put solar collectors on the roof. The key is to make sure everyone can see the differences between his house and a conventional one.

If he's actually interested in being green, otoh, then he'll probably want something built to the Passivhaus standard. I'd start with R13 windows, R50 walls, near zero air infiltration, and a ventilation heat exchanger. A Passivhaus can be built with a peak heating load of 1W/ft². Place it on the south side of the street so the large, south-facing windows give free heat and lighting in addition to some privacy. Light colored walls and floor covering carry the light into the house better.

I favor the "country kitchen" layout, which uses the kitchen table not only as space to eat and entertain guests, but also as a way to divide the kitchen from the living room. A 300ft² home should be comfortable and not at all crowded.
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Old 02-26-2011, 01:17 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Build a dome - if building regulations will allow you.
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Old 02-26-2011, 11:24 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Read Walden by Thoreau.

If you were to re-create Thoreau's cabin it would be impressive. But I doubt that it would be what you have in mind.
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Old 02-27-2011, 12:44 AM   #5 (permalink)
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I'd build a passive solar home with concrete block mass walls inside, south facing windows to the front, the back into a hill on the north, concrete floors, walkway/hall through the south side just inside of the windows, and wood stove right in the middle of the house.

I'd use concrete block for the exterior too, but since you want timber, that is fine. It will have a greater fire hazard though and won't store any heat. However the interior mass walls and floor are most important for storing the heat.

I'd definitely have a standing seam metal roof, that way you can use the water, and be totally independent with water, depending on the climate. An underground concrete cistern would be a big plus.
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Old 02-27-2011, 10:42 PM   #6 (permalink)
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add a thermal attic

Thermal Attic - Building Design for Solar Heating and Natural Cooling
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Old 02-27-2011, 11:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I second the earth sheltered/underground answer. With some south exposure there will be no need for heat or AC if he manages the blinds.
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Old 02-28-2011, 12:23 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Insulation is indeed key, so is minimal surface area, domes give you that but they make poor use of the space and unless you have free skilled labor they cost alot to finish, at least the one I worked on did and it was cramped for the size of space it was (5,000sf) because so much space inside of it is nearly impossible to use.

Keep your window count low, most of your light comes from the south so most of your windows should be on the south but windows are also your greatest heat loss so they need to be good windows and if they don't fit with the space then you are stuck making the space bigger to work around the windows because not everyone wants to feel like they are living in a fish bowl.
Light tubes bring in alot of light for the size, sky lights cost alot, they are a cold spot in the house, they tend to leak and they don't bring in as much light as a light tube for the space they take up.
Every house has utilities and they should be as close to the demand as possible, so the water heater should be in between the bath room and the kitchen, personally I would do a slab on grade then do a pit basement for the utilities, that way your water heater and furnace or back up heat source are not taking up living space but are instead under a trap door under the living space, a 10x10 foot room should be plenty.
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Old 02-28-2011, 06:59 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonG View Post
...if he manages the blinds.
Or if you install automated blinds.
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Old 02-28-2011, 07:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JasonG View Post
I second the earth sheltered/underground answer. With some south exposure there will be no need for heat or AC if he manages the blinds.
Combine that with the castle like Cordwood building method on the outer walls and you have a winner.

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