American Institute of Architects





Friend of the Mississippi
Inver Grove Heights, Minnesota

A cluster of efficient, accessible, sustainable buildings creates a sense of place. The site's unique river/wildlife/boat/barge activity (four wild turkeys strutting over the snow at sunrise) is embraced from outdoor river spaces�a screened porch, a balcony, a roof garden, a loggia, a lighthouse, and a lookout. The lighthouse shines in tribute to (and affection for) the river with chimney-affect ventilation. The three-car garage is whimsical in character and scale to blend with the neighborhood. Passive design collects the sun in winter and shades it in summer complemented with solar orientation, heat pump hvac, energy efficient envelope, low maintenance materials, solar panel planning, and rain cisterns.

"A house I can grow old in." With this age in place aspiration and with Nordic farm roots, the Owners' vision of home: historic context, "visit-ability", and economy. Interior spaces also look toward the river. Universal design features roll in entrances, wide hallways and doors, bathrooms with grab bars, a roll in shower, galley kitchen with accessible appliances, first floor flex room for reading, tv, guests, future caregivers, and future elevator shaft (storage/pantry/linen). Natural light brightens with skylights, a "lightwell", and a corncrib wall light-filled stair. Flexibility makes bedrooms multi-purpose with sliding doors. Unique, cozy spaces encourage reading, conversation, congregating, and reward at a spacious kitchen counter with homemade pecan pie.

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