Ecohome is a magazine of the American Institute of Architects and focuses on green products and technology.
Sarah Susanka Opens Not So Big Showhouse in Illinois
Walkability, healthy indoor air, and attractive design appeal to small town buyers.
By: Rick Schwolsky
The SchoolStreet Development in Libertyville, Ill., includes architect Sarah Susanka’s Not So Big Showhouse.
Credit: Courtesy SchoolStreet Homes
Architect Sarah Susanka’s latest project is a showhouse demonstrating many of the architect’s design solutions for maximizing lifestyle within reasonable sqare footage—an approach she has famously coined as the “Not So Big House” architectural pattern. The showhome, which opened to the public this month, is part of a 26-home infill development built by SchoolStreet Homes on a Libertyville, Ill., “redfield” site—a term that refers to a financially damaged and dormant site, joining “brownfield” and “greenfield” in the lexicon of our industry.
“With all the challenges in the housing market, it’s clear we need a new vision for the way we design our homes, our communities, and even our lives,” Susanka says. “This is the first time I’ve designed a showhome that’s located within an existing small town and in a new walkable community that’s just off the town’s main street.”
The 2,450-square-foot home was designed to meet the new Energy Star for Homes 3.0 performance levels, as well as EPA’s Indoor Air Plus requirements, and is pre-wired for subsequent installation of rooftop PV panels.
The SchoolStreet development includes a historic school that’s being transformed into 15 urban lofts that will be available starting in the second quarter of 2012. It is within blocks of downtown shops and restaurants as well as a commuter rail station 30 miles from Chicago. “Even before we opened the doors, the showhouse design and the entire SchoolStreet community have been met with great enthusiasm from the public,” says John McLinden of SchoolStreet Homes. “We’re bucking national housing trends with 21 of the 26 homes sold in less than a year and five of the 15 lofts sold within the first eight weeks of being released to the public.”
Rick Schwolsky is Editor of Chief of EcoHome.
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