POLARIS HOUSE by Robert Augustine, Architect
The designer of this LEED certified, eco modern house – Boston based architect, Bob Augustine calls it POLARIS HOUSE – a skylight in the young son’s bedroom points up to the North Star – Polaris…a fixed constant in the night sky.
A neighbor passing by remarked: “This is the new American Architecture, isn’t it?”
The ecologically sensitive site is located across the street from Habitat, an Audubon wildlife sanctuary on a wooded hilltop near Belmont, Massachusetts.
Solar collectors for water heating sit on the “white” reflective membrane roof, and photovoltaics supplement electrical needs on this eco-conscious home. The house is LEED certified & received an Energy Star rating.
Materials: The outside of the house is a mixture of sustainably harvested Western Red Cedar and zinc coated panels like the ones used on silos of old barns. The siding is applied over a rainscreen to allow both sides of the plank to breath equally to avoid unequal expansion. These materials develop a patina and weather with grace, softening the edges of a modern aesthetic. Bamboo flooring & “green”/ non-toxic paints & finishes are used throughout the house.
“At first we thought we would hate the metal on the exterior…now we love it….the way it (the soft patina) complements the outdoors – color of the tree bark, the clouds & nature.” The client
A zinc-clad silo marks the entrance. Inside – Metal fabricators crafted the unusual circular metal stair on site. It is painted industrial orange with exposed gusset plate and hanger connections. It winds up to a 2nd floor library (one of the clients is an author), and a home office. A faceted skylight, above this entry, follows the path of the sun. Vivid colors and retro-fun lighting fixtures fill the eco modern house. “Its all about the kids.” The client. The kitchen, manufactured by Moda Cuchina is the gathering spot and ultra-modern fulcrum of the house – finished in an intense burnt orange lacquer. The client’s part time cook, who helped design it, thinks it looks like a Corvette.
“Like certain trends in modern & pop music that employ sampling and remixing, this design reinterprets history and style then adds new technology & meaning. I think this free improvisation communicates meaning in a contemporary & fresh way.” The Architect
LEED certified POLARIS HOUSE, eco-modern house
Red modern kitchen interior in the eco modern house
Play room in the eco modern house
Robert Augustine, Architect
110 1st Ave. #401, Navy Yard
Charlestown, MA 02129