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Set in a traditional neighborhood on a quarter-acre lot, the Origami-Loft House in Venice, Fla., south of Tampa respects its surroundings and presents a sensibly executed façade in harmony with its neighboring homes, while the rear of the house — with its arcs, curves and cascading volumes — exudes drama.
To create the complex geometries and openness of his design — plus give it the strength to weather Florida’s long hurricane season, with wind gusts of up to 250 mph — required architect Jonathan Parks to select a cast-in-place (CIP) concrete-wall system for the entire house.
Cast-in-place concrete walls are made with ready-mix concrete placed in removable forms erected onsite. More commonly used for below-grade basement walls, the CIP technology can be used to create above-grade walls as well. The cost-effective system provides builders and home owners superior-strength walls that resist mold and mildew, can block sound and can be insulated.
The Origami-Loft House, designed to achieve energy efficiency and sustainability, was built using a combination of cast-in-place concrete walls, soy-based foam insulation and low-E windows to counter Florida’s subtropical temperatures and reduce energy usage and costs.
The home incorporates active and passive solar energy and heating systems to reduce energy consumption and provide the home owners with the necessities and amenities common to Florida living. The home’s water and swimming pool are heated with a passive solar water heating system and vaulted ceilings help control interior temperatures.
In addition, the home was designed to usher in as much natural light as possible — significantly reducing the home owners’ reliance on artificial lighting. Its 24-foot high ceilings are topped with transoms and expanses of windows that let natural light spill in, even as the sun sets.
The home’s active system — a 24-panel solar arra — generates between 21 and 26 kilowatt hours a day to power the owners’ Energy Star appliances and reduce their municipal power draw.
The home was built using some recycled materials, and the flooring was constructed of low-VOC-treated wood.
Finally, the home’s xeriscaping — the use of drought-resistant and native plants to minimize water usage in landscape design — minimizes the need for watering and reduces its impact on the environment.
This article was provided by industry experts of NAHB’s Concrete Home Building Coalition. The coalition is sponsored by the American Concrete Institute, the National Concrete Masonry Association and the Portland Cement Association.