the artistic possibilities
of designing with nature

Upcoming events

January 1, 2024 from 10:45 am

We are extending the display of Robert Shannon's retrospective untill the end of May 2024.  We invite interested partys to contact us and schedule a visit while the broad spectrum of our founder's contribututions are still on full display.  We can be reached at   For more information on the show please click this link.


Design and construct the man-made environment to be in harmony with the natural environment.

Solar Work 1983-1995

Andover Ridge, Foundation House


Although a plain looking gabled house from the road, this large vacation house high above Weston,VT shows its real intent on the south facade. The southwest corner is a vertical aluminum and glass tube of sunspace which is allowed to cycle thermally. The other half of the facade is a large solar hot-air collector. In heating mode, air is circulated between glass layers on the south of the sunspace that have a grille of thin black coated aluminum to absorb some of the heat. Next, the air then passes into the bottom of the collector, where it is heated even more, and then passes through various hollow brick walls, situated throughout the house, filled with round rock. Later the heat radiates out from the walls. This system is a type of active feed and passive release. The view is spectacular to the west, and the night insulated-windows are strategically placed to maximize it, while minimizing heat loss.

Continuing with Foundation House:
This final study model preceded the construction below. Here the basic volumes were decided: The house is the tall center section, and the long low building to the west is multifunctional: a large woodworking shop (soon to be a gallery), a 2 story car court in front of the garage, and an art studio with office above on the south end. The concrete colonnade is a symbolic row of trees following the line of the stone wall, where the real trees were left at the edges of the farm's meadows.


Located on the south edge of the buildings is a string of brick fragmented structures, a reference to both New England brick architecture and the work of Louis Kahn. This zone of real and imagined passage has brick, pine, aluminum and glass; the house behind has concrete, stucco, glass, white-painted clapboards, and local hardwoods


The greenhouse trusses were fabricated on site to create the most lace-like texture in counterpart to the weight of the brick, and to minimize mullion size and maximize glass area. The roof, which collects water for household use and as thermal mass, is shaped as a funnel, and was extended later to increase water quantity stored for winter months. The black water tower and glazed with insulating glass on the southeast and southwest sides. As it is located inside the greenhouse area, additional night insulation can be manipulated to maximize performance. Another sunspace occupies the south side of the office, along the edge of which a ramp leads from the entrance drum to the office, then a bridge to the greenhouse and main section of the house. Heated air from this sunspace is ducted to spaces behind it.

The roof over the office collects water that pours into a drain in the entry drum and is stored in a cistern below. Roof water from the other side drains to the north, and then down the hill to feed a large pond. In order to have more protection next to the building for stacking firewood and to reduce snow removal (thereby collecting more water) an overhang is being extended 8 feet out from the building, as 2 enormous gutters. The picture above shows this partially built. The next section will bring the front edge back into a level line when the trusses extend out to a point. Plans, sections, and other drawings of this building can be referenced in GA Projects 28.