The owners requested a “light filled” house, maximized views and cross ventilation so they could enjoy their property as long as possible without turning on the AC. In the south the vernacular shotgun house “ain’t nothing but a way to keep cool” during the hotter months, particularly if you live on the southern coastal plain. Put windows on both sides and it’s easy to take advantage of the slightest breeze. If, as we have for this house, you orient the long axis east/west and extend the eaves and gable ends to minimize solar gain you have a house that can perform well in this climate. The shotgun became the typological candidate.
We chose to break up the footprint with three staggered shotguns to optimize view opportunities as well as ventilation and stitched the whole together with transparent “bridges”. Interestingly, our live oaks and mixed hardwood to the north and west and open areas to the south and east create a micro climate of which we took advantage.
First, we noticed the oaks shelter the site from direct late-afternoon western sun so we cranked the house axis slightly toward the west to reduce the overall daily solar exposure. Second, from previous projects we know that in the heat of the day the open areas of similar sites superheat, create rising thermals and pull air from the cooler hardwood areas. Interpose a ventilated house between the two and natural cooling breezes waft through the house.
Briarcreek Farmhouse is designed as part of the Briarcreek Farm Master Plan.