HEDS architecture firm designed this house in Virginia Beach, Virginia – the second project for a couple with a national furniture business. The Virginia Beach modern home fronts the waters of Linkhorn Bay, a tributary to the Chesapeake Bay. The house has a striking presence as seen from the water.
A linear fountain strikes a line along the entry path, disappears below the house then reappears beyond as a pool. The fountain and pool provide a striking foreground view to the shoreline while a series of floating roofs engage with the horizon: the house speaks to the site, is in dialogue with the site, calls forth the view.
The 16′ tall great room with floor to ceiling glass appears to float above the pool and to offer views on three sides of the bay. A series of terraces further engage the views — a ground floor terrace wraps the living room while a second floor covered porch provides a birds-eye perspective.
Winner of the Central Virginia American Institute of Architects Merit Award, jurists described the house design as, “Disciplined and clear, the organization of this house creates engaging relationships between interior and exterior throughout. A clean floor plan of interwoven volumes yields a rich unfolding of spaces and elegant details. Lingering over each plan and photograph, intriguing surprises in detail and material appear. Dark materials are used without a hint of gloom; raw concrete looks like a luxury material. The house is artful yet eminently livable.”
The house is finely tuned to be extremely energy efficient: Trading equipment costs for envelope design, the house is super-insulated and achieves major reductions in energy consumption following the PassivHaus approach. Triple-pane German windows reduce the ambient temperature of the glass by ten degrees in winter. Deep overhangs and trellises contribute to the passive solar performance of the house. With concrete and stone floors, the heat from the winter is stored in the floors and released throughout the day. During the summer, deep overhangs and trellises and louvers shade the house from the direct sun. The Huber Zip System creates a water and air-tight barrier system so that the house is not heating or cooling the outdoors. LED lighting throughout means the energy loads from lighting are minimal. Finally, on the energy side, the project employs geothermal energy technology – vertical wells provide heat exchange to the heating/cooling system, reducing the energy demand of the system. The passive design of the house has been so successful that during construction, general contractor did not need supplemental heating in the winter months.
With regard to materials usage, sustainably harvested FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified wood is used for framing lumber and all cabinetry and finish wood.
The site is on the Chesapeake Bay and water quality is a key concern. To that end, the project employs a series of strategies: Stormwater is retained on site and collected in bio-retention beds where it is cleansed of pollutants and released safely back into the environment. Native species are used through to reduce the need for irrigation.
The project was led by Allison Ewing and completed in 2016. Interiors by Da Motta Design, Structural Engineering by Curry & Associates, General Contracting by JM Sykes Inc, moisture control by Hentz Engineering, Energy Consultant by Staengle Engineering LLC.