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Single Family, Live-Work Studio
Adaptive Reuse, Deep Energy Retrofit
4,700 SF
Philadelphia: 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. This single-family home and studio 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.



Deep Energy Retrofit

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)

Ventilation: Energy recovery ventilator

Appliances: Energy-Star

Project Team

Design-Builder: Wooden Box

Photography: Jaime Alvarez


Philadelphia Magazine

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