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Live-Work Studio
Adaptive Reuse, Deep Energy Retrofit
4,700 SF
Philadelphia, PA: Fishtown

Designed as a ground floor photography studio with living quarters above, this 1800’s structure exemplifies how Philadelphia’s existing building stock can transition in an age of live-work culture. While demolition and reconstruction claimed similar properties throughout the city’s housing boom, the homeowners were adamant on adapting this unique property. The project utilizes Passive House design and detailing to holistically integrate the once drafty and unsafe building shell into a healthy environment for the resident artists and their family. Sustainable strategies include airtight construction, energy recovery ventilation, a roof-top solar array and an urban garden. This project acts as a reminder that even amidst economic prosperity, the city’s unique fabric is worth all efforts to preserve.

Passive House Principles

Building Metrics:

Energy Use Intensity (EUI): 11.61 kBtu/yr/sf

Home Energy Rating Score (HERS Index): 34

Airtightness: 1.97 ACH50

Building Envelope:

Slab On Grade: R-10

Above Grade Walls: R-25 / R-29 / R-30

Roof: R-51 / R-60

Windows: Average SHGC 0.26, average U-Value 0.26

Skylights: Average SHGC 0.40, average U-Value 0.55


Building Systems:
Renewable Energy: Rooftop solar PV (4 kW system size)

Energy recovery ventilation

Appliances: Energy-Star

Project Team:

Builder: Wooden Box

Energy Verifier: DSB Energy 

Structural Engineer: Larsen & Landis

Photography: Jaime Alvarez

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