By Assistant Professor of Architecture Tolya Stonorov
Professors from Norwich University’s College of Professional Schools presented their research on affordable, sustainable housing to the Vermont Housing Council on May 18, 2016.
Governor Peter Shumlin formed the Housing Council by executive order “to coordinate and oversee implementation of the state’s housing policy, to evaluate housing services and initiatives, and to be a resource to housing providers in their efforts to supply decent and affordable housing to Vermonters.” The council comprises the Vermont State Housing Authority, the Vermont Housing Finance Agency, the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, Housing Vermont, Champlain Housing Trust, the Affordable Housing Coalition, and the Agency of Commerce and Community Development, among others.
Engineering Prof. Edwin Schmeckpeper, Architecture Prof. Tolya Stonorov, and Construction Management Prof. Jack Patterson focused their presentation on the college’s unique interdisciplinary approach to tackling the problems of affordability and sustainability in Vermont. They also discussed the college’s intent to do work and research that changes people’s lives, never approaching projects as an experiment, but rather as a serious potential answer to an existing community problem.
The Architecture, Engineering and Construction Management team presented six projects that focused on affordable housing, sustainability, community outreach and hands-on learning.
- The first project, EMBARC, was designed and built to house a mobile geology laboratory. What began as a shipping container was transformed into a self-sufficient, solar powered, flexible laboratory that can be deployed throughout research sites in New England.
- The award winning Delta T90 Solar Decathlon house focused on energy efficient, solar-powered, affordable housing. This project won first place in the Department of Energy Solar Decathlon competition for affordability and energy balance; the Byron Stafford Award of Distinction; and the American Institute of Architects (Vermont Chapter) People’s Choice Award.
- The Archistream, a mobile resource center, classroom and gallery transformed from a 1969 Airstream trailer, represents a partnership with the American Institute of Architects Vermont. That project used sustainable, local materials where possible. The Archistream traveled to many Vermont and New England communities and events such as the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain, Artfest, and the 2014 Architecture Boston Expo.
- The David Crawford School of Engineering is currently building plans developed by LineSync Architecture for the WheelPad, an ADA compliant housing addition that can attach to any structure.
- CASA 802 (Creating Affordable Sustainable Architecture) is a tiny, 324-square-foot house that represents a joint venture between Architecture, Engineering and Construction Management to create sustainable, beautiful and affordable housing.
- Norwich University’s architecture class, AP436, developed construction documents for the Central Vermont Habitat for Humanity Passive House, a community outreach pro bono project, designed by Stonorov Workshop.
The presentation to the Vermont Housing Council is the third in a series of lectures that the Norwich team (including Prof. Matthew Lutz) has given on their research and projects on affordable, sustainable architecture. Research was previously presented to USDA Rural Development, Vermont and New Hampshire, and to the University of Washington as continuing education for the American Planning Association.