THE AIA AWARD-WINNING HOUSE THAT ARCHI TECT HARRY
HUN T DESIGNED AND BUILT for his family near Stowe, Vermont, is
loaded with energy-efficient features: R- 40 walls, glass coatings appropriate for each window’s exposure, an airtight membrane that forms a
continuous wrap from foundation to ridge, heat-recovery ventilation
equipment, and materials with low embedded energy, to name a few.
But that’s not what Hunt wants this house to be known for.
“What I’m interested in is melding all that technology with the
art of building design, which is not technical at all,” he says. “There’s
so much focus on energy efficiency today, but people are missing other
things, like how it feels to live in the house.”
For Hunt, whose firm, Harry Hunt Architects, is in Stowe, this
design metric is rooted in core Vermont values: frugality, simplicity,
authenticity, and a strong sense of place. Hunt grew up in Burlington,
Vermont, but his family retreated to its second home in northern Ver-
mont, and in his youth Hunt worked alongside a local barn builder.
“Old barns are beautiful,” he says, “because they’re very clear about
their purpose. There’s no question why they look the way they do.” This
contrasts, he believes, with typical suburban architecture that bor-
rows styles from other places and results in buildings that are discon-
nected from — and have little to do with — the origin of those styles.
For his family — wife, Stephanie, and their children, Alaena, 13,
the warmth of local wood (above) — spruce on the ceiling and pine on an
end wall — contrasts with polished concrete floors and countertops. Light
from a large skylight over the stairwell (left) passes through open shelves and
an appliance garage of etched glass.