Arlington Home, Arlington VA

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Description:  This project is a private residence on a 16,000 sq.ft. lot two blocks north the VA Sq. metro station in Arlington VA. 

Scope: The project includes a 4500 + sq.ft. house, a 500 sq.ft. accessory building, pool, and landscape, as well as on-going furnishing and gardening.

Goals: This project seeks to 1) create a context-specific sense of place, 2) maximize the potential of the lot, 3) act as a new paradigm of social responsibility in in the age of the McMansion, 4) incorporate diverse references into a new synthetic whole, 5) endure in both style and function for at least 100 years, 6) be at least partially accessible through use of an elevator and at-grade entrances, and 7) meet a new international luxury standard. 

Features: Notable are the extensive green features, the planning and use of the entire lot, the rationalist plan, and the 'overbuilt' construction.


Front (north) View
Rear (south) View

About the house.
The 'parti' or essential approach scheme of the house is a plan one and one half rooms deep by four rooms wide.  Two cores of services - baths, fireplaces, plumbing, venting, etc. divide the slightly larger bays at either end from the two middle bays.  In section, the house mimics the Northern VA townhouse typology of having garage and a few secondary rooms on the ground floor, and then the main floor up one flight.  

floor plan
Main floor plan
Typical Plan from White Pillars by J. Frazier Smith, AIA (1961)

rear view
Rear (south) view


Green features.
This house is without a doubt one of the 'greenest' houses in the whole metropolitan DC area.  One  defining charcteristics of McMansions is their profligacy with space and resources.   This house brings green construction into the upscale mainstream.   Features include:
Active Solar
• Photovoltaic solar at the main house (10 kW, the maximum allowable with net metering)
• Water heating at the accessory building for pool (no supplimental heat is used)
Passive Solar
• South-facing orientation
• Few windows on north, east, and west elevations
• Properly designed overhangs shade glass in summer
• Sun porch designed to produce and store winter heat
Super insulation
• 2x6 exterior walls with Icynene sprayed in rigid foam insulation 
• R48 in attic
• Insulated floor slabs
• Insulated below grade exterior walls
Energy Star rated
• Galvalume roof is the only roof energy star rated (for heat reflectivity)
• Appliances
• Halogen lighting dimmed throughout
• Direct vent gas fireplaces at the interior to maximize heat output and minimize infiltration
High efficiency heat pumps
• High seer rating
• All ductwork runs in conditioned space
• Unusual residential installation of an air-to-air heat exchanger
Efficient design
• Simple, compact shape minimizes exterior surface and future maintanence costs
• No double height spaces
• Integration of house and land to use all available space
• Minimal lawn, less than 10% of the lot
• Permeable pavers-in-sand driveway
• Gravel rain garden and xeriscape-friendly native plants



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