Passive House Contemporary Townhouse

First Certified Passive House in a Landmarked District

Penthouse in a Brooklyn Heights townhouse with blue carpet, painting, ottoman, and armchairs. A colorful light fixture hangs off the ceiling, and the rooftop deck can be seen through the large windows and glass door.

As our second Passive House project, this Brooklyn Heights Historic District townhome led to the repeatable template that we still use for masonry retrofits. We worked collaboratively with a number of preservationists, including the NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission, and a skilled team.

After Landing of a sculptural staircase leading to the double-height kitchen.
Before Staircase hallway leading to kitchen before our renovation
Opening up the stair hallway on the parlor floor of the home allows more light to enter the living spaces.
After Double-height kitchen with teal cabinetry and island, wood and grey bar stools, and a large chandelier in front of large glass exterior doors
Before Living room with a patterned couch, ceiling fan, and sliding glass doors to the rear yard. An armchair and floor lamp sit in the foreground.
Introducing a double height space in the rear kitchen and a wall of large windows completely transformed the home's rear floor.
After Rear facade of a Brooklyn Heights townhouse with a second-story roof deck atop an extension and large glass windows and doors below.
Before Rear facade of a Brooklyn Heights home with white painted brick before our renovation.
At the rear façade, removing the white paint and adding a rear addition ensured that the home was spacious enough for the entire family and allowed plenty of natural light into the core of the home.
Den with grey carpet, fireplace, couch, and armchair in a Brooklyn Heights Passive House

Note from the architect

When it came to us, most of the historic exterior detail at the front facade remained intact, but historic interior features had been previously removed. We used this blank slate to design an open and contemporary interior layout which maximized square footage.

Living room and entry of a Brooklyn Heights Passive House. A dry bar sits underneath the staircase in front of the front door. Chairs, a coffee table, and couches are atop a grey carpet.
Detail shot of a sculptural white staircase, looking up from below
White sculptural staircase in a Brooklyn Heights Passive House. Three stories of the staircase are viewed from below.
Restored front facade of a historic Brooklyn Heights brownstone with black front doors, a stoop, and ironwork railings.
White freestanding tub next to two double hung windows in a primary bathroom suite with grey wood floors and cabinetry.
Primary bedroom with a large chandelier, juliet balcony, and ombre curtains.
View of a multistory sculptural staircase from below with a skylight on the top floor.
Detail shot of a staircase in a Brooklyn Heights Historic District townhouse with open stringers and open risers.
Split-level kitchen with dark teal cabinetry and a white and natural wood open staircase.
Roof deck with a view of the skyline in a Brooklyn Heights townhouse.
Desk in a child's bedroom with light blue walls and built-in shelving.
  • Shawn Henderson Interior Design
  • Gunn Landscape Architecture
  • Kleen Construction
  • Chris Stein
  • Peter Peirce
Featured in
  • New York Times
  • Brownstoner
  • Metropolis Magazine
  • Curbed
  • Archello
  • New York Post
  • CNN

In the News

2016 AIA Brooklyn & Queens Design Awards

Two of our Passive Houses were honored at the 2016 AIA Brooklyn & Queens Design Awards, winning both the Design Award of Excellence and the Design Award of Merit in the 1-2 Family Residential Category.

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2016 Building Brooklyn Award

Our Brooklyn Heights Historic District Passive House won the Historic Restoration category of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce's Building Brooklyn Awards.

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CNN Global Energy Challenge

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A New Wave of Passive Home Design - Metropolis

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