Inchyra House

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Inchyra House

The design of Inchyra House represents a return to family roots for the owners, one of whom grew up near the beautiful north Georgia property.

Their interest in a sustainable lifestyle, organic gardening, viticulture, aquaculture and sustainable land use completely inform the design solution. The open site was formerly agricultural land, the context is rural and primarily farmland.

The master plan of the 10-acre site includes locations of the main house, guest house, greenhouse, a pond for viticulture, orchards, crops, gardens, a labyrinth, privacy screenings of native plants, paths and gravel roads linking the various site functions. Southern views toward the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest were paramount in location and design of the house.

The one-room-wide shotgun design of the house combines southern vernacular concepts of cross ventilation and livability. A traditional dogtrot transects the middle of the house as main entry on one side and open patio living on the other. The open east wing of the house comprises the day-to-day living areas while the west wing houses guest, laundry, shop, gym and mud room functions.

The house is a study in energy conservation, economy of materials and minimalist design. Passive and active features are incorporated throughout. The east/west linear orientation is ideal for the home’s southern climate. Extensive eaves shelter south-facing glazing (toward the site’s mountain views) in summer but allow winter sun to warm the concrete slab floors. North-facing walls are comprised of insulated concrete masonry units utilizing thermal mass to retain investments in heating and cooling and also providing a sound and privacy barrier toward the adjacent highway.

The shop and circulation areas of the house are unconditioned, relying on cross ventilation in summer and thermal mass in winter for comfort control. Total conditioned space for the house is, as a result, less than 1,800 square feet.

Design Challenge

Inchyra’s gently sloping ten-acre former pastureland site faces a noisy, well-traveled two-lane highway to the north and thousands of acres of the beautiful and mountainous Chattahoochee National Forest to the south. The clients’ interest in a sustainable lifestyle, organic gardening, viticulture, aquaculture and sustainable land use completely inform the design solution. The open site was formerly agricultural land, the context is rural and primarily farmland. The northernmost portion of the site, along the road, provides the best views of the property and, beyond, stunning views of the mountainous Chattahoochee National Forest. Design Challenges were to: 1. Locate the house relatively near the road but provide visual and sound privacy. 2. Orient the house to primary views of the land to the south and views of the mountains 3. Orient the house for best solar advantage so that the house takes thermal advantage of winter sun but is shielded form summer sun. 4. Incorporate a pond for aquaculture and irrigation. The master plan of the 10-acre site includes locations of the main house, guest house, greenhouse, a pond for viticulture, orchards, crops, gardens, a labyrinth, privacy screenings of native plants, paths and gravel roads linking the various site functions. Southern views toward the mountains of the Chattahoochee National Forest were paramount in location and design of the house. The one-room-wide shotgun design of the house combines southern vernacular concepts of cross ventilation and livability. A traditional dogtrot transects the middle of the house as main entry on one side and open patio living on the other. The open east wing of the house comprises the day-to-day living areas while the west wing houses guest, laundry, shop, gym and mud room functions. The house is a study in energy conservation, economy of materials and minimalist design. The east/west linear orientation is ideal for the southern climate. Extensive eaves shelter south-facing glazing in summer and allow winter sun to warm the floors. North-facing walls of insulated concrete masonry units utilize thermal mass to retain investments in heating and cooling and provide a sound and privacy barrier toward the adjacent highway. As the site’s lower elevations begin as the bottom of a large valley, a high-water table precluded a basement but facilitated construction of a pond.

Physical Context

Context: Inchyra’s immediate surroundings are agricultural. The land has belonged to one family for many years and has been handed down over generations. The site faces a noisy, well-traveled two-lane highway to the north and thousands of acres of the beautiful and mountainous Chattahoochee National Forest to the south. Most of the land has, over the years, served as pasture or cropland. A drainage ditch bisects east to west and the owners have a copse of hardwoods abutting the southeast corner of the primary site. As the site’s lower elevations begin as the bottom of a large valley, a high-water table precludes basements and facilitates ponds. The elevation of the land is just below 2,000 feet and is close to the Chattahoochee National Forest where Brasstown Bald rises to over 4,700 feet. The site is in climate zone 4 Mixed-Humid with IP Units CDD50ºF ≤ 4500 AND 3600 < HDD65ºF ≤ 5400 and SI Units CDD10ºC ≤ 2500 AND HDD18ºC ≤ 3000. Response to context: Inchyra’s north facing solid masonry wall reduces highway sounds Inchyra’s south facing glass walls open the site to views and the owner’s planned specialty crop fields Inchyra is a combination shotgun and dogtrot design with the long axis oriented east/west; the ideal orientation in its climate for solar exposure.

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