January 28th, 2010
New Orleans, Louisiana
The Neron Place residence is designed to conform to best practices in environmental and sustainable design for tropical climates. Building materials include ash based concrete, bamboo floors, recycled paper and cement countertops, hardi-plank wood fiber and cement siding, e-rate glass and double insulated windows, recycled glass tile, and doors with integral blinds and other sustainable products. Landscaping will incorporate principles of permaculture design using all native plants.
Heating and cooling is provided through a hybrid of passive and active mechanical systems. The passive systems include day lighting provided by clerestory windows on the first and second floors. Overhanging “eyebows” and deep porches provide summer sun shading. Other passive systems include an extensive cross-ventilation system activated an open stair at the center of the house. The stair opening creates a natural cooling “chimney” that channels the flow of air vertically through all three stories of the house to discharge through an attic fan and roof louver at the peak of the roof. Input is provided through 24 motorized vent windows located in the clerestories and dormers on the third floor. The passive system will operate during hours when the external wet bulb temperature is within the comfort zone. During other times, heating and cooling will be powered by five 300 foot deep earth contact geo-thermal wells tied to a water source heat pump.
The roof is reflective metal and steeply sloped on the west and north encouraging negative pressure across the louver and dormer windows (drawing air up through the house) and less steep on the south and east to increase the surface area for rain water collection and to hold more than 700 square feet of photovoltaic and solar hot water panels, which will cover the full triangle of the roof facing south. A 1,200 gallon wooden cistern tied to an integrated rooftop rain water collection system will provide water for toilets and irrigation.
The building is a stylistic hybrid. Included in the design are elements of the neo-classical, local vernacular and modern architectural idioms. The first floor is mostly open, like a traditional Creole cottage with wide (10 and 12 feet deep) porches, both open and screened. The primary roof slope is derived from solar inclination. All rooms are proportioned using sacred geometries that include classical harmonic relationships of 4×4; 4×6; 3×4, etc. The dining room is a perfect circle. All of the rooms are consolidated within a central cube which has its primary elevation in the proportion in a golden rectangle. Both plans, elevations and sections of the cube are ordered by a rigid 4 foot module.
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