Debra D. Henderson, photographer


Debra D. Henderson, photographer

Innovation and Design

Tonkawa Springs

Client:

Jason and Jennifer Bohannon

Location:

Boerne, TX

LEED Consultant:

Chip Henderson

Builder:

Architect:

Green Rater:


Project Goal:

Jason and Jennifer Bohannon began with a simple desire to build a sustainable and modern structure on their 6-acre Texas Hill Country property. The couple began designing a house that would fit naturally into their ruggedly beautiful landscape, while being ultra water and energy efficient. “We started the design process by creating models in Google Sketch Up, which allowed us to play with container placement and visualize spaces in three dimensions,” said Jason. The more they played with concepts, the more the idea of reusing existing material in a new way became attractive. After further research, they discovered that there is an overabundance of used shipping containers that offer several significant building advantages, such as design flexibility, durability and the satisfaction of reusing what is currently a ‘waste’ item. They began down the path to build a container house that would stay within their limited budget.

Solution:

As the drawings became closer to what Jason and Jennifer wanted, they began their search for the containers, while enlisting the help of local architect and builder Wade Winters of Locus Design Build. They found containers from the Houston and Corpus Christi Ports and had them delivered to the site. Two, 20-foot containers make up a separate, free-standing office. For the main house they used two, 45-foot high cube containers (9 ½ feet tall) spaced 16 feet apart with two, 40-foot high cubes stacked on top of each. They cut out the interior walls of the containers on the 1st floor to create a large open space; the corrugated remnants were then used to create a form for a 4 inch concrete slab for the majority of the 1st floor. They also added a downstairs bedroom utilizing one 20-foot container offset two feet from the main structure to maximize useable living area. Winters began working on drawings and structural details to support and build the structure. Wade was a perfect match for the project; his insights helped the design to flourish and evolve to where it is today.

Placement of the house was based on passive solar orientation, prevailing breezes, vegetation and views. To capture pristine valley views and additional light, the back of the home has a Nana Wall system, which opens to a large deck that overlooks the beautiful landscape. A portable induction cooktop makes an easy commute from adjacent kitchen to outdoor deck.

A butterfly roof is separated in the middle by a wide gutter that feeds the 5,000 gallon central water harvesting system. Insulated by SIPs, the roof has an approximate R value of 19 with no thermal bridging. Walls inside of the home will be a mixture of exposed container, clay plaster and reclaimed cypress. All exterior walls will be insulated with closed cell spay foam insulation and finishes will vary from cypress and corrugated metal cladding to indigenous limestone rock. The Bohannon’s will use gray water for outdoor irrigation and renewable energy, beginning with a small array of photovoltaics with a vertical axis wind turbine (Vawt) in the near future.

“I’ve always wanted a loft,” said Jennifer and the 2,700 square foot home has a feel of a loft-like atrium, with few walls, open spaces, and beautiful embellishments such as antique doors, wood trim and large windows.

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