Location: Grand Rapids, Michigan
Completed in August, 2017, the Deer Haven is a 3,000 sq ft, LEED platinum-pending home designed as narrow bars of space following subtle site contours, the daily path of the sun, and natural site air movements in its wooded setting. It is deeply rooted in sustainable design, from site placement and orientation to assemblies and systems. It carefully occupies the space between the ground plane and the tree canopy with an unfolding spatial sequence connecting people to both, through blurred threshold conditions and utilization of clerestory light.
On the main level, horizontal space extends to the outside via cedar ceilings along the primary circulation path that continue into deep cedar exterior overhangs and a sun-shading trellis. Large high-performance windows articulate an intimate relationship to the trees beyond through intentional, irregular patterning. Spaces on the main level naturally flow with the daily path of the sun.
The upper level features playful roof forms, yielding sloped ceilings and deep overhangs for a heightened awareness of the tree canopy and sky. White, upper-level windows enhance the effect of dappled light through the trees. Carefully placed windows provide passive cross-ventilation throughout the house, including a two-story shaft along the south-facing window wall to enhance natural air movement.
Deer Haven is constructed of locally-sourced SIPS panels, wrapped with an additional 2” of insulation. Half of the main level floor is a structural radiant concrete slab for thermal mass. The flat roof area over the kitchen supports a live green roof system providing thermal mass and controlling water runoff.
As a combustion-free home, the ground loop geothermal system provides heating and cooling. Half the electric consumption is covered by a 5kW solar PV system. The Experimental Advanced Renewable Program allows the energy from the array to be purchased Consumers Energy and return to the grid.