Hopper Design, LLC


Toward Healthy and Sustainable Homes

Designs - Curved Contemporary

3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms

 Download plans: $175.00

Main house 46' x 30' (total 2,370 square feet) - 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
Greenhouse, utility, workshop and garage add an additional 939 square feet.

This Curved Contemporary is entered from the north. There are three bedrooms with the master bedroom on the first floor. There are two bedrooms, a computer room and balcony study on the second floor. The house has three bathrooms, one with a tub and two with showers.

This design can substantially reduce your non-renewable energy needs. The curving south facade enhances direct passive solar gain in winter in morning and late afternoon by extending the available time of collection. The south facing roofs are ideally sloped to allow for the possibility of achieving zero net energy (see Energy). We place active solar thermal and solar electric systems on the roof (photovoltaics not shown in photograph below). The solar thermal system is in the center bay for all year collection and the photovoltaics are distributed on the roof so as to enhance solar gain over the course of the day. The house can be built to allow these active solar systems to be added at a later date. The wing to the east contains a greenhouse, utility, workshop and two car garage.

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Curved Contemporary south elevation at noontime on December 1st.

This Curved Contemporary is designed for efficient use of space. Once you enter the home a well planned collection of spaces conveniently serves your living needs, allowing all essential needs of an adult couple to be served on one floor. The living room is open above to the roof with a cathedral ceiling (a great room) and can employ exposed wood truss members that support both the roof and second floor. The curve on the south side receives a significant amount of daylighting all year, and receives seasonally appropriate solar gain in winter with its two story facade of windows. For example, early morning light in winter penetrates deep into the master bedroom, and also penetrates deep into the rest of the home all day during winter's short days. The living room is a practical family room.

The dining area is within the same great room but defined by a lower ceiling. The dining area feels and appears spacious and is readily accessed from the kitchen. The kitchen is highly functional and has a pantry. The kitchen space is set off by the refrigerator/wall enclosure while maintaining easy access to the dining space. The kitchen is also directly accessible from the garage and greenhouse.

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Curved Contemporary first floor plan showing garage, utility, work space, greenhouse, entries, kitchen, pantry, dining, living/great room, master bedroom, bathrooms and closets.

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Curved Contemporary second floor plan showing bedrooms, closet/storage, bathroom, balcony study, computer room and bridge overlooking the great room below.

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Curved Contemporary view June 22 with morning light.

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Site Plan with drive entries from south west through north (shown) to south east possible.

Passive solar heating study

The Curved Contemporary design captures early morning and late evening sunlight. Compared to a flat faced facade, the curved design provides a 2% averaged gain in passive solar heating throughout the heating season. During deep winter it collects a little less energy but as we get away from the winter solstice the curved design performs significantly better. For example, on the spring solstice the curved design collects roughly 17% more passive solar energy than a flat design. See Curved Solar Study - Fall and winter (pdf).

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Passive solar heating study of curved and flat facade designs. The vertical axis is energy and the horizontal axis is time of day. Heavy lines correspond to the Curved Contemporary design and light lines correspond to a flat faced design. Red lines represent the excess energy produced by the curved design relative to the flat design, i.e., the energy benefit of the curved design. Percentages in parentheses give the net energy loss or gain of the curved design relative to the flat for that day.

This study is based on sunlight being available horizon to horizon. It takes into account the apparent path of the sun on a given day, the configuration of the facade, and the transmittance of the insulating glass. This study is concerned only with the energy flux through the glass and does not address the retainment and distribution of that energy.

More images

Interior views stretched to include items of interest.
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Curved Contemporary view on December 22 at 3 p.m. with an ideal unobstructed six hour solar collection time. There is a shaded air space between the roof and the thermal and photovoltaic solar collectors. This allows for convective cooling of the roof in summer and improves efficiency of the uninsulated underside of the photovoltaics by keeping them cooler.

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View of the living/great room, stair, bridge to balcony and dining beyond. Optional water filled copper tanks provide excellent storage of thermal energy since water has a large volumetric thermal capacitance. These tanks moderate indoor temperature variation throughout the year. An operable skylight over the stair at the highest part of ceiling (not shown) allows for natural ventilation in summer.

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View of the curved north wall (with earth berm outside) and window for summer ventilation. An optional 500 gallon tank is shown next to the wood stove with a water heat exchanger.

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View of dining space looking back into the kitchen with door to garage on left.

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View of kitchen looking south with door to greenhouse at far left.

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View of living/great room with stair to second floor, bridge, balcony and bedrooms beyond. Study area on right can be used for computing or music practice, for example.

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Curved Contemporary fall view west. Note that the low profile of the house with insulating earth berm on the north causes winter winds to slip easily up and over the roof, reducing energy loss.

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View north in the master bedroom with bathroom and closet space beyond.

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View of second floor bedroom on east side of home looking south.

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View of second floor bedroom on west side of home looking south.

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View of balcony study looking south.

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View of second floor computer room looking south.