studio 804: the prescott passive house
original content
jul 12, 2010
studio 804: the prescott passive house

the prescott passive house by studio 804
all images courtesy studio 804

the prescott passive house by studio 804 is the product of eight months
of research, experimentation,
design, and construction by the
architecture studio’s sixteen graduate students at the university
kansas.  located in kansas city, kansas, the single-family home is
designed to both LEED platinum
and passive house standards.

the house acts as a prototype for the region, as it aims at being the first certified passive house
in the state of kansas, and one of only a handful in the country.  to obtain its goal of a 90%
reduction in heating and cooling energy demand, the house uses low cost passive strategies
such as louvers, thermal mass, high performance windows, super insulation, southern orientation,
and an air tight building envelope.  an energy recovery ventilator works in conjunction with these
strategies to temper fresh intake air with energy from the exhaust air, providing constant fresh
air year round.

louver detail

the 1,700 square foot, three bedroom, two bath residence bestows many
amenities within
a small ecological footprint.  despite its modest
size, the open floor plan creates a spacious interior.
a double height
living room connects the main floor with the upper level, where the
bedroom is located.  the stacked master bathroom and main floor
bathroom are flooded with
natural light through an internal two-story
frosted glass wall across from the expansive southern
overlooking the living room and southern array of windows  is the
flexible  loft space.
on the main level, the living room is connected
to the kitchen and dining spaces with an exposed
concrete thermal mass
floor, while a change in overhead height articulates the different
these living areas are located just off of the 400 sf deck,
which lends uninhibited views of
the prescott neighborhood and the
kansas city skyline while doubly functioning as the carport roof.
the west end of the main level are two additional bedrooms with views
to the surrounding
double width lot. while remote controlled operable
skylights create the only break in the northern
envelope of the house,
operable glazing stretches the entire length of the southern side to
natural ventilation. this impressive façade is protected by
louvers optimally angled to allow winter
heat gain yet block sunlight
from penetrating the house in the summer.  downstairs, a full walkout
basement provides ample storage as well as a finished flex room located
directly off of the carport.

the front of the house

a 16 inch thick insulated wall assembly and a 22 inch thick insulated
roof assembly provide
the basis for a home that seeks a 90% reduction
in heating and cooling energy.  the airtight
assembly nearly eliminates
nearly all heat transfer through the building envelope, keeping all
gained from the high performance glazing within the house.  the
energy recovery ventilator
and thermal masses seek to further maintain
a constant interior temperature, reducing nearly all
need for
additional tempering support.  outside, clotheslines discourage the use
of an electric
clothes dryer, one of the most inefficient of the
otherwise energy star rated appliances. 
in the spirit of the age-old japanese shou-sugi-ban tradition, the
exterior of the prescott passive
house is clad in a charred douglas fir
rainscreen.  this low-maintenance assembly yields a UV
protected dark
black finish to the house.  recycled paper windowsills and countertops,

bamboo flooring, and concrete thermal mass floor complement the clean
white interior walls
and ceiling.

the outdoor area

leading into the living area


living space

at night

studio 804, a not-for profit, design/build program at the university of
kansas, is a student led
process that creates affordable architecture
while thoughtfully responding to global problems
of density and
sustainability using smaller scale, local solutions. prior to the
prescott passive
house project, and over the course of its fourteen
year history under the direction of dan rockhill,
jl constant
distinguished professor of architecture, studio 804 has succeeded as
the impetus
of change in older neighborhoods throughout kansas city and
lawrence, kansas. prescott
passive house will be their third LEED
platinum building in kansas.

studio 804 serves as the final design studio for graduate students at
the university of kansas
school of architecture, design and planning. their projects are funded by the efforts of the sixteen
enrolled in the program who are also faced with the responsibility of
selling the house.

project info:
project name: prescott passive house
project location: kansas city, kansas, usa
completion date  may 2010
designer:  studio 804
photographer: courtesy of studio 804
client: speculative housing
building area: 1700 sf

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