the berkshire residence marries traditional craft with sustainable design in massachusetts

the berkshire residence marries traditional craft with sustainable design in massachusetts

emerging between the trees of a leafy parcel of land in sheffield, massachusetts, is a new home designed by brooklyn-based architect, vincent appel/of possible. the site of the recently completed residence bears special significance for the client, as it was where they grew up. the project is therefore described as ‘a marriage of poetry, building science, and memories of a site.’ the timeless craft of traditional new england construction is combined with passive house building standards, resulting in a contemporary expression of rural american architecture that will last for generations.

of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom

all images © rory gardiner

 

 

the client’s childhood home was a two story colonial house rebuilt by their parents. as it was deemed unsustainable for later life living, the building was relocated nearby for the client’s sister. the client therefore commissioned of possible to design a new, contemporary home that gives a subtle nod to the local vernacular architecture.

of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom

 

 

engaging with the memories and original features of the site was also a key desire of the client. within the new design, this aspect of the brief manifests in picture frame windows, where each one frames a cherished memory of the past. these include memories of an apple orchard, barn, and horse corral to the east, a long yard and gardens to the south, an evergreen and wetland ravine to the north, and a grand maple tree with a 70-foot canopy to the west. 

of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom

 

 

a sober palette of finishes has been chosen to enhance the impact of these frames against the ever-changing seasonal new england landscape. moving through the home over the course of the day, one is drawn from the inside spaces to the outside landscape. similarly, when one approaches the home from the outside, the large terraces create exterior frames of the landscape as well as into the interior. in this way, the home is designed to create new memories while honoring old ones.

of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom

 

 

to realize the 3,600 ft2 building, of possible worked closely with kent hicks construction and energy efficiency associates in massachusetts. with kent hicks – a contractor and certified passive house consultant – the design team developed straightforward construction details to achieve passive house level building assemblies. 

of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom

 

 

although not certified, the berkshire residence is built to meet passive house institute standards. materials were sourced regionally, selected for low global warming potential, and detailed for ease of construction to last generations. mechanical systems and energy loads were sized so that the home could achieve net zero energy performance with the addition of a small ground mounted solar panel array.

of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom of possible completes the sheffield residence in massachusetts designboom

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