Mutton Hill House

How we helped:

* On-Site Material Sourcing
* Energy-Efficient Envelope
* Pattern Language Thinking
* Community Build

The Mutton Hill House was developed through a community design-build approach. Early design charrettes were conducted in which family friends, with varying degrees of design expertise, were invited to participate in the development of the design. As the project moved into construction phase there was continued outreach to friends and family to join in the process. Some brought invaluable skills as carpenters, masons, and roofers. Others brought an unskilled but helping hand and an interest in learning. Still others simply brought their children, providing a healthy distraction for the workers.

The house layout orients the primary living spaces to the east and south to access the view of a pond located to northeast and the radiant solar heat of the southern sun. Secondary functions (mudroom, bath, stairs, and closets) are located to the north and west, where they provide a buffer from cold winter winds. The exterior or the house was designed to fit into the rural agricultural landscape of Central New York, while also reaching out to the open spaces of the site. Materials for the house include a combination of local, site-harvest materials and energy-efficient building systems. Tamarack and maple trees were harvested from the property’s forest for construction, and the slip-form masonry exterior was built with field-stone gathered from old stone walls on location. Behind these local materials, Insulated-Concrete-Formwork and Structurally-Insulated-Panels provide highly efficient wall and roof systems to combat the harsh Central New York winter.


Fenner, NY – Elevation: 1,400 ft

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