Just up the road from the main village, the construction site at 300 King Street in Chappaqua may look like an ordinary homebuilding venture. But the edifice holds a rich history: It was originally a Quaker meeting house dating back to the 1820s; it was dismantled and reconstructed on its current site in 1883 and was most recently used as a Lutheran nursery school. It also has an ambitious future: Ultimately, it will be repurposed as two, three-bedroom residential units that will be sold by lottery to income-eligible purchasers. As a historic reuse project, the exterior of the home is being restored to the appearance it had in 1883. In addition, it’s being designed using passive-house sustainability standards, which will result in such benefits as reduced energy costs, building resiliency, and superior indoor air quality.
The King Street project is also a true labor of love for the Chappaqua community. Volunteers have contributed thousands of hours of work to the project, and local organizations have donated building supplies, including Sheetrock and roofing shingles.
No ordinary building venture indeed. Purchased in 2015 by the County and designated a historic landmark, the building was donated to the Fuller Center for Housing of Greater New York City to be transformed into use for affordable housing. Construction began in January 2016, and the project is expected to wrap up this fall. Partnered with the Fuller Center is Chappaqua-based architecture firm Sasaki+Spade Architects, heading up the design and historic restoration of the building. The two condo units — the first-floor home will comprise 1,940 square feet, while the second-floor unit will offer 1,760 square feet — are priced at $225,000 each.
What makes the project truly unique is its focus on sustainability through the use of “passive house” principles. This method of construction “carefully models and balances a comprehensive set of environmental factors to reduce the energy use of a building — by 75 percent or more compared with building codes — while delivering a healthy indoor environment and eliminating the use of fossil-fuel equipment,” explain Sasaki+Spade principals Bill Spade and Keiko Sasaki. Key passive-house elements at work in the King Street project include extra thick, highly insulated, and well-sealed floors, walls, and roof; high-performance, triple-pane windows and insulated doors; and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems with 24-hour energy-recovery ventilation. The overall goal, explain the architects, is “to apply the latest technologies and construction methods in energy-conscious and sustainable design to substantially reduce the energy use and carbon contribution of the building.”
Watching the project come to fruition has been exciting for Chappaqua residents Spade and Sasaki, who say they are looking forward to the new owners and their children, “who can be part of this wonderful community.”