Green Concept Homes

Architectural Record have just featured their annual ‘Unbuilt Houses‘ series showcasing some very interesting concept designs of green & sustainable residential single-family dwellings.

Some of the projects are speculative, whilst others are set to be erect this year.

Here is a showcase of all 8 projects.

Browse through the designs and tell us your favourite.

Cradle to Cradle (C2C) Home

Location: Roanoke, Virginia
Architects: Coates Design Architects
Schedule: Conceptual

The concrete and steel 1,600-square-foot L-shaped home designed by Matthew Coates and Tim Meldrum won the 2005 C2C Home competition. The teams vision is yet to take off the ground because they are awaiting the technology, and funding to construct this spinach powered structure.
Read more about C2C

Pasadena Eco House

Location: Pasadena, California
Architects: Studio RMA
Schedule: Spring 2008

This three-bedroom, 1,975 square feet single-level home would be built of structural concrete insulated panels (SCIP), a sustainable lightweight composite building material with the strength of heavily reinforced concrete. It would be weight an astounding 60 percent less than reinforced concrete and be still structurally sound. Pasadena is scheduled to be built in the historic San Rafael Hills area of Pasadena, California later this spring.
Read more about Pasadena

Make it Right

Location: New Orleans, Louisiana
Architects: Adjaye Associates
Schedule: 2008

The “Make it Right” project was set up to by actor Brad Pitt to help rebuild the Hurricane ravage Lower Ninth Ward, in New Orleans. Mr.Pitt commissioned 14 architects to design sustainable homes in a bid to build 150 sustainable and affordable homes for Lower Ninth Ward residents. The architecture firms involved include Adjaye Associates, Billes Architects, BNIM, Concordia, Constructs, Eskew Dumez Ripple, Graft, John Williams Architects, KieranTimberlake, Morphosis, MRVDV, Pugh + Scarpa, Shigeru Ban, and Trahan Architects.

All designs meet flood prevention standards and are all raised at least 5 feet above ground. The Morphosis design took further safety precautions by designing a floatable home.

Read more about “Make it Right”

Swell House

Location: Highland Park, New Jersey
Architects: Studio ST Architects and Z-A
Schedule: Not specified

Swell house is a renovation and 1,000 square feet expansion for a 900-square-foot home. The uniqueness of its design lies in its contrast of old and new; borrowing the old to cover the new, or placing new inside the old.

The old house has been converted into a giant room devoted to public uses, while the addition section resembling a mutated outgrowth is largely private. A semi-public family room links the two. Despite the double curvature of the new volume, it is made of simplified, orthogonal surfaces.

Read more about Swell House.


Location: Chicago, Illinois
Architect: Michelle Kaufmann Designs
Schedule: May 2008

This 2,250 square feet, three-story prefab range of houses are to be clad in cedar and cement-board siding.

Each mkSolaire will be solar-ready with other renewable energy options: a geothermal system, a wind generator system, or hybrid systems. Other green elements include an open-cell foam insulation system, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring, countertops containing recycled paper, recycled glass tile-walls for the master bathroom and powder room, on-demand water heaters, and water-saving plumbing fixtures.

The mkSolaire will be built and featured in the “Smart Home: Green + Wired” exhibition that opens in Chicago this May.
Read more about mkSolaire.

San Vicente Residence

Location: Santa Monica, California
Architects: Pugh + Scarpa
Schedule: Not specified

Commissioned by a couple that own a home-based recording business, San Vicente Residence is composed of two stacked, irregularly shaped parallelograms topped by an undulating roof that provides optimal acoustics inside. The upper volume boldly cantilevers out over the street and is separated from the lower volume by a band of clerestory windows, producing a floating effect. Four ribbons of perforated metal twist around the upper level; it appears they are pinched and squeezed as if they were made of fabric, not metal.


Location: Mobile Prefab
Architect: Specht Harpman
Schedule: Not specified

Our favourite, the zeroHouse ticks all our boxes for design & sustainability. Designed by New York based Specht Harpman, it is built to be the ultimate green mobile prefab home that can fit into any landscape.

zeroHouse’s unique feature is that is employs a helical-anchor foundation system that touches the ground at only four points and requires no excavation, meaning minimal disturbance to the earth.

It is designed to incorporate numerous energy efficient features like:

  • Energy efficient solar panels that store and produce electricity continuously for up to one week with no sunlight;
  • Rain rainwater collection plane that gathers and diverts water into an elevated 2200-gallon cistern;
  • Gravity-driven plumbing system that eliminate the need for power-consuming pumps;
  • All its prefabricated components are insulated with closed-cell structural foam that achieve a thermal resistance rating of R-58.
  • A compost unit that processes & converts organic waste into clean, dry fertilizer that is removed only twice a year;
  • A high-efficiency heating and air-conditioning system in separately zoned sleeping and living areas.

Read more about zeroHouse

Sycamore House

Location: Los Angeles, California
Architects: Kovac Architects
Schedule: 2008

The design of this 3,400-square-foot home is based on simple geometry inspired by the site’s location in the Pacific Palisades neighborhood in Los Angeles. Standing on the house’s green roof, one can see the ocean two miles to the west.

The house primarily runs on photovoltaic power with a geothermal system providing supplementary cooling. It’s sedum-planted roof insulates the structure and reduces the heat island effect. Other green features include concrete with high fly ash content, FSC-certified woods, reclaimed teak and bamboo flooring, non-VOC paints, recycled glass tile in the bathrooms, formaldehyde-free plywood for the sheathing, Energy Star appliances, and dual-flush and low-flow fixtures.

The Sycamore House is currently under construction. Read more about Sycamore House

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  1. michael bonhoc
    January 31st, 2009 at 06:37
    Reply | Quote | #1