A Rational Approach

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photos by:
June 28, 2010
Originally published in The Energy Issue
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  • 
  Spiekermann and Dulkinys agree that their house—the first they’ve built from the ground up—is definitely different.
    Spiekermann and Dulkinys agree that their house—the first they’ve built from the ground up—is definitely different.
  • 
  Throughout the house, materials have been left in their raw forms. In the lobby-cum-garage entrance, panels of spaghetti insulation line the walls and ceiling.
    Throughout the house, materials have been left in their raw forms. In the lobby-cum-garage entrance, panels of spaghetti insulation line the walls and ceiling.
  • 
  The East Berlin neighborhood is entirely new, zoned for town-house  construction. Each floor of the house is more or less completely open from front to back, so the interior gets plenty of light in spite of the long, narrow lot.
    The East Berlin neighborhood is entirely new, zoned for town-house construction. Each floor of the house is more or less completely open from front to back, so the interior gets plenty of light in spite of the long, narrow lot.
  • 
  Just outside the lobby is a drive-through for Spiekermann’s Audi.
    Just outside the lobby is a drive-through for Spiekermann’s Audi.
  • 
  The lobby-cum-garage plays home to the couple’s favorite forms of transport: 
a bike and Spiekermann’s Audi.
    The lobby-cum-garage plays home to the couple’s favorite forms of transport: a bike and Spiekermann’s Audi.
  • 
  The “cellar,” where the couple keep printing presses, was built on the fourth floor, above the office spaces. For zoning purposes, this floor has a low ceiling height.
    The “cellar,” where the couple keep printing presses, was built on the fourth floor, above the office spaces. For zoning purposes, this floor has a low ceiling height.
  • 
  The office houses the letter “U" as well as cameras.
    The office houses the letter “U" as well as cameras.
  • 
  The fifth floor has office space for Spiekermann and Dulkinys in addition to guest quarters.
    The fifth floor has office space for Spiekermann and Dulkinys in addition to guest quarters.
  • 
  Next to the kitchen, Eames and Jacobsen chairs welcome dinner guests to the dining-room table. The back wall is covered in particleboard panels.
    Next to the kitchen, Eames and Jacobsen chairs welcome dinner guests to the dining-room table. The back wall is covered in particleboard panels.
  • 
  Very large doors, like the one leading from the living area to the stairwell, add to the sense of space.
    Very large doors, like the one leading from the living area to the stairwell, add to the sense of space.
  • 
  The stainless steel Bulthaup kitchen “cost as much as a small house,” said Spiekermann, though he did get a discount: Bulthaup is one of his clients.
    The stainless steel Bulthaup kitchen “cost as much as a small house,” said Spiekermann, though he did get a discount: Bulthaup is one of his clients.
  • 
  Cloth panels hide messy outlets and plugs.
    Cloth panels hide messy outlets and plugs.
  • 
  Dulkinys uses the remote-controlled mountaineer’s harness to peruse the two-story bookshelf.
    Dulkinys uses the remote-controlled mountaineer’s harness to peruse the two-story bookshelf.
  • 
  The bedroom and bathroom make up the private zones on the top floor.
    The bedroom and bathroom make up the private zones on the top floor.
  • 
  The interior is bright and charming, cool but not cold. Each floor is open, with an unencumbered view from the glass facade in front to the glass doors in back, which makes the rooms feel much larger than they are.
    The interior is bright and charming, cool but not cold. Each floor is open, with an unencumbered view from the glass facade in front to the glass doors in back, which makes the rooms feel much larger than they are.
  • 
  Here, in the basement, a borehole heat exchanger uses the warmth from the earth, brought to the surface by four steel pipes that reach 105 feet down, for heating. Solar panels heat the building’s water, and a clever ventilation system ensures that the glass house doesn’t get too warm in the summer.
    Here, in the basement, a borehole heat exchanger uses the warmth from the earth, brought to the surface by four steel pipes that reach 105 feet down, for heating. Solar panels heat the building’s water, and a clever ventilation system ensures that the glass house doesn’t get too warm in the summer.
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