||Custom Modular House:
Halpern Architects routinely explores alternative forms
of construction with the idea of offering our clients a broader range of
options and cost-effective approaches to construction. One recent approach that we investiated with a local modular construction
company was the development of several custom modular homes. This particular
home was designed for a rural steeply sloping site in Carroll County.
This 1,400 square foot house was developed around the client’s specific wish
list, site constraints, tastes and long range objectives, and was optimized
for modular construction. The design was intentionally designed and oriented to
permit the installation of roof top mounted photovoltaic solar panels (shown),
as well as a second portion of the roof intended for solar water heating panels
|Extreme Makeover: Home Edition:|
For most of the
September, 2011, Halpern Architects
devoted to producing a
new home design for
the TV show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. This Extreme Makeover Home
to fruition many of the goals of a year-long collaboration between
Architects a local contractor focues on green modular construction.
preparation for the charrette
that produced the design, Halpern Architects and the rest of the design
team received a video from EMHE that introduced the family. We were
result, the team
concluded that the design would be a 2,000 square foot, four-bedroom,
home. The goal was to keep the volume of the house small so
cooling loads could be kept to a minimum. This meant that room sizes
compact, but comfortable; circulation was minimized. The roofs were
oriented to maximize clear sky exposure, and orientation was optimized to allow a
number of photovoltaic solar panels to allow the house to produce as
much electricity as it used, if not more.
systems and other
construction components were chosen for low maintenance and low carbon
footprint, as well as speed and ease of installation. The modular
aspect of the
project allowed a higher quality control level and minimal waste,
allowed construction to begin before the “Door
when a family finds out that they have been selected for the show.
new home is 2,700 square
feet, with inviting and spatially interesting interior
spaces. It is oriented to
available sunlight on the PV solar panel arrays. It should be efficient
and cool and easy to maintain.
||Prototype Modular Green House:
In an effort to explore the use
of modular construction to produce a more verdant home design, Halpern
Architects decided to produce a ‘prototype modular green home’, which we saw as
a chance to explore strategies to optimize a home for modular construction,
affordability, low maintenance construction and reduced operating costs.
The design brief started with a focus on keeping the house compact while
creating an interesting exterior and interior spaces that are inviting and
The prototype design is
a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home in less than 2,000 square feet. The floor area and
volume of the house was purposefully small so that heating and cooling loads
could be kept to a minimum. This meant that room sizes were intentionally a
balance of being compact yet comfortable. Circulation was minimized. The roofs
were oriented to maximize ‘clear sky’ and the orientation optimized to permit a
sufficient number of photovoltaic solar panels to create a house that produced
as much, or perhaps even more electricity than it actually used.
Siding systems and other construction components were chosen for low
maintenance and low carbon footprint, as well as speed and ease of
installation. The modular aspect of the project allowed a higher quality
control level, waste to be minimized, and allowed construction to begin before
the site work began, minimizing the period that the owner was paying a
construction loan on a home that could not yet be occupied, as well as the
period when the site was disturbed for environmental reasons.