This single family, three-bedroom home in Williamsburg, Brooklyn emphasizes efficiency in its interior organization and approach to energy usage. The client’s interest in optimizing thermal comfort and minimizing energy consumption and cost led to the adoption of Passive House design strategies.
As the rear of two buildings on a single zoning lot, the home is fronted by a 25’ x 25’ courtyard, and bound by a 5’ deep yard at the back. The existing masonry shell and wood floor joists were retained where possible, and retrofitted to provide a comfortable interior through five primary methods: continuous interior insulation, thermal bridge-free construction, triple-paned windows, an airtight envelope to prevent indoor-outdoor air transfer, and an energy recover ventilator to minimize mechanical heating and cooling loads.
Interior spaces are organized around three floors with discrete functions—utility, living, sleeping—with an entrance at the cellar. The 25’ wide lot allowed for a centrally located interior stair, behind which service spaces are located. A large skylight accentuates the stair as a porous vertical volume within the house. Perforated metal treads and risers bring in light throughout the day, and wood screens divide the space while allowing partial visibility across the otherwise open living floor.
The warm white oak floors, wood screen and paonazzo marble are paired with black window frames, metal fixtures, and cabinetry to give a sense of balanced contrast throughout the interior spaces. On the living floor’s west side, the kitchen, stair and metal desk act as a dark backdrop to the social spaces which face them. Natural light from an 18’ wide triple-pane lift-slide door creates a fluid transition from the dining area to a rear deck.
Bathing areas on the top floor are dressed in stone or tile on 3 sides and illuminated by skylights overhead to emphasize their volumetric quality within the space.