Affordable Dwelling unit, Wellfleet MA

Our design proposal seeks proximity to the modern architectural history on Cape Cod. The simple rectangular shape tries to appear weightless being cantilevered over a small base. Looking from South, the main volume is floating among the existing trees. The facade siding creates a linearity by underlining the horizontal appearance. Shape and size of openings are a reaction of the relationship between inside spaces and outside surroundings. The large south facing windows capture the view across Wellfleet harbor and provide passive solar heating in Winter. A recessed balcony defines the south-west corner of the living space.

Summer shading is provided through external louvres and a sun-sail above the cut out balcony. The two story structure is located in the rear of the property with its own private entrance. The concrete base occupies a small footprint to reduce excavation and the size of the foundation. It houses a vestibule with storage closets hiding a composting unit, washing machine, water heating and plumbing. A single stair leads to the living and sleeping areas upstairs. The walk through bathroom is located next to the kitchen to simplify plumbing and could also be used to access an optional second bedroom. The second floor structure is made out of 5-7" thick Cross Laminated Timber panels permitting the cantilever. It creates a covered outdoor entrance area which could be used for recreation or a carport.

The indoor climate is controlled by the building envelope following Passive House principles. Thermal insulation of 6" mineral wool and airtight taped joints are reducing needs for heating and cooling by 60%, for which we propose a small ducted air-to-air heat pump. Fresh air is supplied by one pair of oscillating through-wall fans with heat recovery. Rain water is collected from the roof and used for flushing, washing and gardening/ farming. Hot water is provided by an electric tankless water heater with drain water recovery. We are proposing a foam free building for a better indoor air quality and reduce the use of petroleum based products.

This simple, small and affordable free-standing dwelling unit combines minimalistic modernism with
sustainability and green technology.

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