Architecture can be seen as fundamentally an act of balance. To balance the competing imperatives; that of our desire for openness and yet protection, visibility and yet privacy, innovation and yet reliability, performance and yet economy – the architecture of the SURE HOUSE must find a balance that delivers security, functionality, and delight… all within 1,000 square feet.
The SURE HOUSE is designed from a simple concept: create a low energy, solar-powered, storm-resilient home for vulnerable coastal communities. How the building ‘performs’ sets in place the bones of the architectural design, with the form, fenestration and envelope design driven by sophisticated whole-house energy modeling. Architecture, however, is as much a cultural process as a technical one, and so the unique history and culture of ‘the shore’ shape the particular material and spatial expression of the SURE HOUSE.
The notion of the “shore-home” has informed our design from the beginning with a focus on indoor/outdoor spaces, open views, and smart (durable) material choices. The outdoor spaces; the decks, porches and gardens, are an especially important element of the home’s design, speaking to the importance of the outdoors in the lifestyle of the coastal communities found throughout the mid-Atlantic region. Through simple design moves the SURE HOUSE effectively doubles its useable space in the warm summer months by opening up to its large outdoor decks. This outdoor living room complements a simple, contemporary interior that relies on ample natural daylight and functional, flexible living space to create a refined and inviting family home.
Designed with a full-time resident, middle-class family as the target market. The two bedrooms and flexible living spaces allow for a family to live comfortably in a relatively compact home while still offering plenty of private space. The integration of a variety of built-in furniture elements will maximize the compact interior spaces without sacrificing functionality.
The SURE HOUSE is designed for New York and New Jersey coastal cities and towns, especially those which experienced severe damage from Hurricane Sandy during the fall of 2012. The storm surge, high winds and flooding associated with Hurricane Sandy reshaped the landscape along the Atlantic coast and highlighted the vulnerability of shore neighborhoods. In addition to these physical changes, NY and NJ coastal towns have experienced dramatic changes as a result of economic and policy factors. Currently, FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy are driving the rebuilding of these communities, often resulting in costly renovations and, sadly, unsuccessful streetscapes. The SURE HOUSE will fulfill the need in these regions for durable, safe, and resilient sustainable homes. The inclusion of storm and flood resilience to this solar-powered home sets it apart from other homes and fulfills a critical need within the housing stock of this area, serving as a model for future resilient development and construction in storm- vulnerable environments.
These shore regions have a rich history as vibrant middle-class summer communities; however, in addition to the summer visitors, these regions are also home to tight-knit neighborhoods of full-time residents who represent the target market for the SURE HOUSE. The architecture of these communities is varied and vibrant, with many historic homes alongside contemporary and mid-century modern structures. The SURE HOUSE draws from this rich culture for its style, materials and patterns of living to create a sustainable, resilient home which will fit well within these developed coastal areas.
The core functional equipment of the home surrounds a large open living and kitchen space which spills out onto a wide south-facing deck. The Jersey shore’s communities feature both full-time residents and a vibrant summer-time beach culture. The SURE HOUSE draws from this rich history in its design and material pallet.