When Don Lenzer and Bettina Volz started looking around for a builder in the New York area, they quickly realized that they couldn’t meet their budget requirements with conventional construction. The owners’ design firm, Stelle Architects, found Arizona-based ASUL (Adaptable System for Universal Living), who collaborated with the designer to provide an alternative construction methodology with a budget of $200 per square foot. This is the Lenzer/Volz residence in Amagansett, New York.
ASUL, discussed here and here, uses “mass customization” to deliver a custom architectural home while still maintaining predictability and affordability. The company does this with modular components (rooms, floors, decks, awnings, etc.) that can be combined in myriad configurations using a steel frame sans structural walls.
While under construction, ASUL uses a “refined site-built process” using its own crew, supplier relationships, and technology to achieve substantial cost and time savings relative to the traditional design-build process.
This process is already underway in New York with the Lenzer/Volz Residence. ASUL is running a Facebook page to document the sustainable aspects and other construction details of the home. For example, ASUL will track all material moving around the site to calculate the total amount of waste created and recycled.
The Stelle Architects home has three bedrooms, 3,000 square feet, and will be Energy Star rated. Early on, Stelle ditched plans for roof-mounted solar due to the surrounding forest canopy. Stelle also considered a geothermal system but dropped this idea because of the heavy clay content of the soil. Thus, this home relies on siting, orientation, strong design, and passive solar principles to conserve energy.
Credits: Stelle Architects (renderings); ASUL (construction photos).