The Butterfly House is a project in Venice Beach California that resides on a 40' x 90' end lot. The name of the house is derived from the butterfly roof which is formed to collect rainwater for irrigation and creates a dramatic elevation especially when the wooded ceiling is illuminated. The main concept of the house, was based upon maximization of the long south facing elevation to create a dark solar absorbent surface and to provide exposed solar thermal heating with evacuated tubes used as an architectural accent. The glass tubes provide hot water for both domestic uses and hydronic radiant as well heat for the the narrow lap pool along the edge of the property. On the outer edge of the property is a 90 foot long 8 foot tall double-sided living vegetative wall with durable drought tolerant succulents on the southern face at the street, as an offering to the community, while the inside surface facing the house is a living wall of edible landscape so that the occupant needs only to go a few steps to pick his wall to make a salad, pick herbs or vegetables. The entrance to the house is from the side yard, between a courtyard that separates the garage from the main house and connects the buildings at the second floor through a glass bridge. A warm pallet of sustainable materials are used throughout the house to create an environment that is at once private yet opens from the interior to the exterior. The house takes advantage of natural ventilation and prevailing breezes through a high solar chimney and stair tower that leads to the roof deck as well as thermostatically controlled operable windows that cool the interior. The house also his solar photovoltaic panels which along with advanced lighting controls the state-of-the-art information systems throughout the house creates a zero net energy building.
Images Courtesy of Jeff Higginbotham