Garden Statement

written by:
photos by:
December 19, 2010
Originally published in Young Americans
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  • 
  A cedar-slat rain screen hangs on the facade of Denis Carpenter’s concrete house in Jersey City, softening its appearance and adding a modest dash of color. Carpenter keeps the awning-style windows open in the spring and summer, creating a draft that compensates for the lack of an air-conditioning system.

    A cedar-slat rain screen hangs on the facade of Denis Carpenter’s concrete house in Jersey City, softening its appearance and adding a modest dash of color. Carpenter keeps the awning-style windows open in the spring and summer, creating a draft that compensates for the lack of an air-conditioning system.

  • 
  Carpenter poses outside his house, which is shoehorned into a tiny nonconforming lot among a block’s worth of older row houses and a derelict public park.

    Carpenter poses outside his house, which is shoehorned into a tiny nonconforming lot among a block’s worth of older row houses and a derelict public park.

  • 
  Eighteen insulated concrete panels, each a different size and shape, were trucked to the site and hoisted into place over three days. The outlines of eight of these panels can be seen when the house is viewed from the southwest.

    Eighteen insulated concrete panels, each a different size and shape, were trucked to the site and hoisted into place over three days. The outlines of eight of these panels can be seen when the house is viewed from the southwest.

  • 
  The salvaged 1950s-era kitchen cabinets by Republic Steel, covered with a new Formica countertop, represent both a significant cost savings and Carpenter’s commitment to sustainability. The kitchen opens onto a 72-square-foot deck that offers a view of the Statue of Liberty.

    The salvaged 1950s-era kitchen cabinets by Republic Steel, covered with a new Formica countertop, represent both a significant cost savings and Carpenter’s commitment to sustainability. The kitchen opens onto a 72-square-foot deck that offers a view of the Statue of Liberty.

  • 
  The architects used three ceiling heights in the living area, entrance vestibule, and kitchen, creating distinct spaces without building walls.

    The architects used three ceiling heights in the living area, entrance vestibule, and kitchen, creating distinct spaces without building walls.

  • 
  Carpenter, a former professional musician, spends considerable time playing several instruments around the house, including his bass recorder.

    Carpenter, a former professional musician, spends considerable time playing several instruments around the house, including his bass recorder.

  • 
  A 260-square-foot solar array was installed atop a triangular section of the roof, which faces due south and is angled at 30 degrees for optimal solar collection.

    A 260-square-foot solar array was installed atop a triangular section of the roof, which faces due south and is angled at 30 degrees for optimal solar collection.

  • 
  His patio was constructed with bricks salvaged in the excavation process.

    His patio was constructed with bricks salvaged in the excavation process.

  • 
  Carpenter spends a lot of time outside on his rear deck.

    Carpenter spends a lot of time outside on his rear deck.

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