A FIRST IN VANCOUVER: A CRAFTSMAN BUNGALOW BECOMES FULLY ECO-FRIENDLY AND IS AWARDED PASSIVE HOUSE PLUS CERTIFICATION
One thing is using a renovation to convert a house into an energy-efficient sustainable edifice. Another is to do this with a bungalow ‒ and specifically a 1912 one-family property that was simply a weekend haven away from the city. Now known as the Craftsman bungalow, the home has found fame among architects in North America as the first of its kind to gain Passive House Plus certification in British Columbia.
Designed by Michael Green Architecture, the project has artfully paired the permanence of the existing building with innovation, making its structure one of the most eco-sustainable in North America. One of the reasons guiding the architect to this undertaking was that most people who go for a new home by buying an existing property get rid of the old edifice without any attempt to salvage it in an eco-friendly key. This project in fact demonstrates that it is possible to achieve excellent ‒ even outstanding ‒ energy standards without going over-budget. Because the usual deterrent in this sense is the financial one. In any case, things are changing.
Let's take a closer look at this project.
This operation by Michael Green Architecture was completed in 2018 and was requested by the owners, who had already been living in the home for 20 years. Their wish was to conserve the ties with the context as well as the traditional appearance of the building while upgrading the systems and structure and bringing all the improvements needed to convert the property into an efficient and eco-sustainable one.
The house became modern and energy-efficient over three years, while its history and original character remained intact. So much so that it has set a precedent as the first Passive House Plus certified property in British Columbia. This standard demands extremely low levels of energy consumption, with up to 90% reductions on the emissions generated by a traditional building, and goes one step further than the internationally recognised Passive House standard ‒ an achievement that is even more remarkable since this is a renovation and not a new build.
The existing edifice was restored conserving the existing materials: wooden doors, windows and cladding were adapted to improve their efficiency. The old fir wood of the deconstructed part of the building was repurposed for custom-made furniture and a chandelier. The result is a high-performance shell, including triple-glazed windows, punctuated by contemporary notes on the south side of the house.
The new element of the property is a simple and modern volume, which echoes and incorporates the form and character of the existing bungalow. A roof overhang provides a spacious covered balcony that embraces the main bedroom. The whole volume is clad in yakisugi ‒ a sort of charred cypress protection. This traditional Japanese method of wood treatment creates unique grain effects and provides the material with an unusual finish that makes it more durable against the weather and prevents insects attacking it.
The interiors have been conceived to connect the new volume with the old. A simple palette of natural wood and white tones was opted for, along with minimalist lighting to deftly accent the owners' broad collection of artworks. The open-plan kitchen layout enables events to be hosted here, whether they be cosy get-togethers with family and close friends or larger parties welcoming numerous guests.
Location: Vancouver, British Columbia
Project by Michael Green Architecture
Photography by Ema Peter, courtesy of Michael Green Architecture