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Facade Update and Retrospective: The Passive Project

by Nic Darling on October 27, 2009 · 11 comments

in Construction Updates,Design,facade,passive project

After the expected construction delays and difficulties associated with a standard as ambitious as Passive House, the Passive Project is finally getting wrapped up. Drywall is up, finish work is underway, and we are finally getting a look at the backlog of blog posts we owe you on this process. They are coming.

The most noticeable change at the site has been the exterior. Paint is on and other than some detail work at the base of the homes and the addition of our window shades, the outside of the houses are finished. So, for those that don’t attend to our Flickr page regularly, here are some of the images of the facades in all their glory.

So, how did we get here? How did these facades reach this particular point? This may be good time for a history lesson, or to be less pedagogical, a retrospective.

Some of you may remember the beginning of the Passive House facades. The early designs (pictured below) featured a variety of different materials.

We eventually moved away from these ideas due to the complexity of construction and the difficulty of working with multiple materials. From the discussions around revisions with ISA we reached the concept of single material facades (in this case fiber cement lap siding) as a design element. This thinking led to the lap siding version of the home, initially rendered like this . . .


From there color was added to give a sense of depth and excitement.

This addition received mixed reactions and was eventually toned down to this, our actual homes.

So, what do you think? Use the comments for praise, biting critique, partially formed emotional outpourings, worshipful haiku or any other expression of your feelings.

If you enjoyed reading this post I can promise you'll love our new writing over at Postgreen Homes. Yeah, we know that's the same thing your favorite band said and their new album is nowhere near as good as their early stuff, but seriously, we are actually still getting better.

There also isn't much conversation to be had here . . . at least not with us. So come on over to the Postgreen Homes Blog and tell us what you think of our new(ish) digs and crazy ideas. We will be sure to tell you what we think of your opinion.

{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 tlynch October 27, 2009 at 4:37 pm

Is this a rain-screen approach? If not – why the change from the first project?

2 Bill Cunningham October 27, 2009 at 4:40 pm

If you’re going to have a green door, then you must have a blue door. Otherwise it looks “unfinished.” Likewise match the color elements up and down the wall.

3 kelly October 27, 2009 at 6:21 pm

white plain jane neighbor,
so why paint your bright stripes grey?
keep hues, axe barcodes.

:)

4 chad October 27, 2009 at 7:39 pm

tlynch – Yes, we are still using a rainscreen on these and all future Postgreen Homes. This time we used traditional wooden furring strips rather than the Benjamin Obadyke mesh product that proved to not be as cost effective as we had hoped on 100K.

5 Todd Oskin October 28, 2009 at 11:16 pm

looks good…seems a little more ‘traditional’ than the 100k house.

almost reminds me of vinyl siding…but much sleeker, more modern, and sturdier looking. much better than vinyl siding though.

6 steven leighton October 29, 2009 at 1:06 am

Wadayado when you just want to open the window to feel the breeze?

My greatest reservation about the passiv approach is that it usually means no window to open to shout down to the kids and throw them a key or a ball ….. it’s waaay too permanently sealed for me. I’d have nightmares about the air con breaking down whilst I was sleeping and me and my family dying.
The big glass light openings (can’t call them WINDows windholes) lack character.
I know you’re pushing to get high energy savings buuuht can’t you put a bit more effort into aesthetics for the nowindows and doors next time please?
Oh I like what you do…… but you can do better.
Saludos!

7 tlynch October 29, 2009 at 12:08 pm

I think the exterior molding around the windows in the rendering gives a nice depth to the windows and are sorely missed on the real facade which looks very flat and somewhat cheap.

I agree with Bill, the gray door looks unfinished, maybe the large house numbers on the door will help.

I like that it is similar enough to the 100k house so a passerby might connect the two, which is good for your brand, but that it is still unique.

8 Wes Thomas October 31, 2009 at 5:19 pm

Looks awesome! although I agree with Bill, the doors being the accent color of the strips would make the facade look more cohesive

9 Matt March 24, 2010 at 8:31 pm

Why use the rainscreen setup with the lap siding? Did the variation in with require it, or is there another benefit? Did not follow the build as I just found you, but looking through your stuff is really great, a wealth of ideas!

10 Chad March 26, 2010 at 8:26 am

Hi Matt,

We use a rainscreen on all of our homes because it is the most durable cladding method and also keeps the house cooler during the summer. For more info, check out our original rainscreen post – http://www.100khouse.com/2009/02/25/home-slicker-instant-rainscreen-house-wrap/

11 Kris December 9, 2010 at 8:55 am

I actually preferred the additional stripes in the rendering. I am not especially a modern design fan but I think the stripe look is really fun and looks great and doesn’t look so stark as most modern design. I agree with the gray door looking not finished but because of the solid blue adjacent to it, I understand why you left it gray. Maybe painting blue stripes on the door would be a solution.

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