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2010 AIA Housing Award Recipient

Category 1: One and Two-Family Custom Residences

Ferrous House

Photo 1 of 7



    Such an elegant reuse of
    resources and a spectacular
    transformation, it is
    commendable and surprising
    that this is a renovation.

    This project demonstrates that
    simple, off-the-shelf materials
    can be creatively employed to
    create an elegant design
    solution… evidences a very
    thoughtful approach.

    It has a remarkable presence.


    2010 AIA Housing Awards

    Andrew V. Porth, AIA, chair
    Porth Architects, Inc.
    Red Lodge, Mont.

    Natalye Appel, FAIA
    Natalye Appel + Associates

    Geoffrey Goldberg, AIA
    G. Goldberg and Associates

    Grace Kim, AIA
    Schemata Workshop

    Jane Kolleeny
    Architectural Record

    New York City



Johnsen Schmaling Architects



Eric and JJ Edstrom



Spring Prairie, Wis.

Notes of Interest

This house is the careful reinvention of an existing, ill-conceived suburban production home at the end of its life cycle. This project challenges the ordinary but environmentally irresponsible tabula rasa approach – tear down and build bigger – and offers a sensible alternative, illustrating how the bones of a dysfunctional building can be reclaimed as the framework for a contemporary, precisely detailed dwelling. The project is a case study for a resource-conscious suburban renewal in a time of economic and ecological distress.

While the project brief asked for a radical aesthetic and spatial metamorphosis, the severely limited construction budget, and environmental common sense, commanded the reuse of major elements of the existing building, including the foundations, main perimeter walls, and plumbing stacks. The interior was gutted and reorganized to create open, interconnected spaces. A new shed roof, supported by a filigree of exposed metal and wood trusses, adds height to the living spaces and allows northern light to wash the inside of the house through a long band of translucent, aerogel-filled polycarbonate glazing.

Throughout the building, sustainable systems and materials were specified, including low-VOC paints and stains, recycled steel, high-efficiency mechanical systems, Energy Star-rated windows, and locally sourced woods.




Patera, LLC


General Contractor


Jorndt Fahey Remodelling, LLC


Photo Credit


© Doug Edmunds Studio


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