After hundreds of entries, thousands of online public votes, and much heated discussion among the jury, the winners of the Eco-Home competition by FreeGreen for the rebuilding of Greensburg have been announced. The first place winner is a design titled “Meadowlark House” by Steven Learner. This is one of the few designs that all the jurors agreed upon. It has a smart, simple plan, a strategic use of windows, and could most likely be built for an affordable cost.
Stuttio Workshop recieved a second place ranking for their “Root /Breathe / Endure” design. This was one of my favorites, as it has a smart wall building assembly including solar water tubes and a thermal storage wall combined with a artwork, a lovely connection to the edible garden from the kitchen, and I think all the interior spaces would have wonderful qualities of light.
The fourth place winner, Studio Sunna, had one of my favorite designs “Openhouse”. The layout is incredibly strategic with the placement of openings that provide light, breezes and outdoor spaces but also incorporate low-tech elements such as the sliding wood sunshades on the outside to reduce heat gain and offer privacy. Learning from barns. They thought about passive house techniques and approaches and incorporated them into the small, yet powerful house.
I was disappointed, however, that some of my other favorite designs did not make it to the top 10, and therefore were not a part of our jury. This one below, “Passive House HIB” designed by Paravant is elegant and beautiful, as well as efficient. It utilizes passive design components and techniques that allow the warmth from the sun during the winter but not the summer. I love the sliding screen over the winter garden and the courtyard.
Below is one of my favorite elevations in the “EcoLodge” entry. One could imagine this being lush green in the summe, and also a poetic snow house in the winter – always stealth-like and visually connecting to the landscape.
In the end, not only just the winners, but many of the entries prove t is longer enough to judge a design on how it looks. Homes should look great, of course. But they also need to perform. I evaluated entries based on how the spaces feel with plenty of non-direct natrual light, maximum views and breezes, materials and systems for having healthy air quality, spaces that feel larger than they are through smart design, but also how the home would perform over time in terms of energy and water efficiency. A great design can have it all. All homes should have it all.