The Global Passive House Happy Hour this week was headlined by speakers Caitlin Martusewicz and Tony Daniels of Cycle Architecture. Caitlin, a certified Passive House designer, and Tony, the founder of Cycle Architecture, spoke about their project at 669 St Marks Avenue in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City. An important project for Cycle, the St Marks building is their first design that is going for Passive House certification. The 10-unit multifamily building has already won accolades, including the Building of Excellence award from the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA).
Cycle Architecture is working closely with Massimo Cocco, co-founder of Grupo Maskenada, a real estate and development firm based in Italy but expanding to the United States. For the firm a high level of building efficiency is business as usual, and setting Passive House as the goal was an easy pitch for this team. The building’s site presented both design challenges as well as opportunities, perhaps the most notable being that the unusually large lot size—125 feet deep–allowed for all four sides of the building to have windows, a rarity in New York City. A passive shading design was introduced to reduce cooling loads, while every unit has its own private outdoor space in addition to a public rooftop area. The all-electric building, which is under construction, will be foam-free, using mineral wool and densely packed cellulose for insulation and was constructed in part from reclaimed building materials to divert waste from landfills. In keeping with the project’s sustainability focus, the completed condominium will feature dedicated chutes for compost, recycling, and trash.