breaking news

South Vienna woman accused of firing gun at Wayside Tavern incident

Westcott to get solar house

Springfield landmark will add a learning lab to its offerings.


A local house designed by Frank Lloyd Wright will soon be augmented by another revolutionary piece of architecture — a single-family residence that would cost its owner nothing to heat, cool or power.

The Westcott House Foundation, which spent $5.8 million last decade to restore Wright’s only Prairie Style home in Ohio, located at 1340 E. High St., has long looked to build something along Greenmount Avenue on now-vacant land behind the house.

A solar-powered house designed and built by Norwich University of Vermont will be assembled on the Westcott property later this month after it competes in the U.S. Department of Energy’s 2013 Solar Decathlon in southern California.

The solar house — called the Delta-T90 — will be used as a learning lab and a place to demonstrate clean energy technology, adding a permanent extra dimension to Westcott, which has been open as a museum since 2005.

“We’ve been trying to do programs that will make the house as relevant as possible to the community,” Marta Wojcik, executive director and curator of Westcott, said Monday.

Norwich, which won entry into the biennial Solar Decathlon, an international competition, this year for the first time, is donating the house to Westcott. The local nonprofit just has to haul it from California to Ohio after the contest at a cost of more than $30,000, according to Wojcik.

“We want the house to have a purpose,” said Jayson Sterba, a senior architecture major at Norwich who’s been at work on the Delta-T90 since his sophomore year.

“Here,” he added, “it has a pretty great purpose.”

With its official rebranding earlier this year as the Westcott Center for Architecture and Design, Westcott has long taught and promoted good design.

“We want it to fully function,” Wojcik said of the solar house.

The addition of the solar house also is very much in keeping with Wright’s approach to architecture.

While there was no such thing as a “carbon footprint” back in 1906, when the world-famous architect designed a house for a local family, he sought to alter the environment as little as possible with his buildings, according to Craig Dillon, a Springfield architect who serves on the Westcott board.

Wright homes also were more energy efficient thanks to the use of radiant heat.

“He would really embrace technology today,” Dillon said.

The partnership between Westcott and Norwich came about through an instructor at the private military college, a longtime Westcott supporter who previously had been curator at Wright’s Fallingwater in Pennsylvania.

Initially, Westcott looked to partner with Ohio State University on a solar house, but a $94,000 grant to make the project a reality from the Institute of Museum and Library Services was awarded too late in 2011.

Ohio State found a site for its last solar house in Columbus, Wojcik said, and then didn’t compete in this year’s competition.

The 1,000-square-foot Delta-T90 is a two-bedroom, one-bath modular home that could be built for $150,000, Sterba said. A couple making as little as minimum wage could afford it, he said.

With an insulation R-value of 50.6 — newly constructed homes have an R-value between 17 and 19 — the T90 should prove to be cozy come winter.

“We designed it for Vermont,” Sterba said, “so it should perform equal to or better than in the state of Ohio.”

Norwich students will be able to track the home’s performance from Vermont online.

The Westcott House Foundation cleared the land along Greenmount in 2010 of seven boarded-up houses after a study determined it was too costly to save them.

Local preservationists initially had argued against their demolition, saying the 19th-century homes provided historical context for how the neighborhood looked when the Westcotts hired Wright.

Early plans for the space called for a tea house designed by the now-late Japanese architect Kisho Kurokawa and a series of structures by master architect Stanley Tigerman.

Westcott has hired a landscape architect in Oak Park, Ill. — the Chicago suburb that served as home base for Wright — to develop a new master plan incorporating the solar house.

The project should be complete next spring, Wojcik said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Community News

Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio
Whirlpool celebrates new Trump tariffs, adding 200 jobs in Ohio

At least one local manufacturer is celebrating the Trump administration’s move to slam down new tariffs on imported goods. Whirlpool Corp. said it is adding 200 jobs after the administration imposed a tariff of up to 50 percent on large residential washing machines, a penalty aimed squarely at rival manufacturers Samsung Electronics Co. and LG...
Air Force museum to reopen after shutdown
Air Force museum to reopen after shutdown

The world’s largest military aviation museum reopens today after a government shutdown shuttered the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. RELATED: Thousands head back to work at Wright-Patt as shutdown ends The museum had opened for four hours Saturday in the midst of the shutdown until closing at 1 p.m. that day. A spokesperson had said the...
JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs
JOB ALERT: Kroger hiring for management, digital tech jobs

The Kroger Co. announced it is actively recruiting experienced retail, digital and technology professionals for corporate and store management roles across stores. “We want retail and digital and tech talent to know that we’re hiring,” said Tim Massa, Kroger’s group vice president of human resources and labor relations. The...
Oscar nominations announced Tuesday morning
Oscar nominations announced Tuesday morning

Who will be among the Hollywood elite to vie for this year’s Academy Awards? The nominations will be announced Tuesday morning starting at 8:22 a.m. EST.  Tiffany Haddish and Andy Serkis will serve as hosts from the Samuel Goldwyn Theatre. The Oscar ceremony will be held on March 4 and will be hosted by Jimmy Kimmel. >> Read more trending...
Employers to recruit at Springfield job fair
Employers to recruit at Springfield job fair

Local employers like CareSource and Assurant will be recruiting in Springfield this Friday. CareSource Life Services is holding a job fair 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday at the Faith United Methodist Church at 102 W. High St. RELATED: Dayton Children’s plans career fair Life coaching, job readiness training and resume support will be available. Some...
More Stories