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Geothermal House
Marblehead, MA

Structural Engineer:

Sarkis Zerounian & Associates
Wetland Scientist: 
Wetlands & Land Management Inc.
Nat Rea Photography

Adjacent to a 40 acre conservation area, this house on a slope is designed to maximize the connection to the woods, while maintaining privacy from an adjacent public hiking area. Despite its location in a suburban neighborhood, the house is made to feel like a wooded retreat.

The design solution lay in a combination of glass walls and opaque privacy elements, such as stone walls, cabinets and fireplaces, that discreetly block the key views into the house, while allowing a maximum feeling of openness, and a immersive experience of the treetops, sky and deep woods.

The interior spaces are sculptural and dynamic, dramatic ceillng forms and plane shifts animate the journey through the house. There are small nooks, balconies and corner windows that project into the treeline and provide a treehouse-like sensation on the interior. Bright colors play off of a calming neutral pallette of slate, maple, fir and steel, creating balance.

Many sustainable measures were employed to increase efficiency. Passive-solar strategies dictated the rooflines and galzing, the house orients northward to nature, while allowing the southerly sun to enter through large openings and clerestories. A geothermal system provides the hot water, heating and cooling via a ground-source heat pump.

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