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Saturday, September 23, 2006

MKD's mkSolaire™ house

Boston is filled with row houses. I live in one. They have a great, classic design about them, whether they're clad in brick, wood shingles, or siding. The biggest problems they have are light- and airflow. The middle rooms of the house are often quite dark, even in the middle of the day.

Well, Michelle Kaufmann Designs may have the row house's replacement. LiveModern reported on MKD's mkSolaire™ house. It is designed to fit into the narrow lots that most inner city row houses reside, and is built using factory built, pre-fabricated and earth-friendly materials.

The open, modern, loft-like design of the mkSolaire™ house allows for increased air- and lighlight flow. Increased airflow helps create a healthier environment (with no stale air) and lessens the need for extra heating and A/C. More light flow means less elecricity use. Other environmentally friendly aspects of the house are "Icynene insulation, high-performance mini-duct/hi-velocity mechanical system, bamboo or reclaimed wood flooring, countertops containing recycled paper, recycled glass tile, on-demand water heaters and water-saving dual-flush toilets." Also, being factory built means there is less waste product in the construction process.

There are various options, from the materials used, to whether you want a garden, roof deck, or garage. You can also combine houses to share walls and make MKD's version of row houses.

Prices for the mkSolaire™ range from $150 to $175 per square foot. That equals about $302,000 for MKD's 1,830 sq. ft. S1 Standard house. Add whatever the cost of buying a lot and clearing the land. The three family row house in which we rent is valued at over $1M, and I doubt there's any open lots left in the city, so this surely wouldn't be an inexpensive venture.

Michelle Kaufmann Designs is in the forefront of modern green residential design. Besides the mkSolaire™, MKD also offers the Glidehouse™ and the Sunset Breezehouse™. MKD currently has a lifesize replica of its Glidehouse at the National Building Museum for a yearlong exhibit, "The Green Home: New Directions in Sustainable Architecture and Design".

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