Kelbaugh Solar House

Architect: Douglas K. Kelbaugh

Date of Construction: 1973-1975

Location: 70 Pine Lane, Princeton

Materials: concrete foundation, unpainted plywood

Floors: 2

Use: residential

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Architect Douglas K. Kelbaugh designed one of the first solar-heated houses in New Jersey in the mid-1970s. The house uses a trombe wall to heat the house. A trombe wall is a southern facing glazed wall that traps the heat of the sun. The glaze is backed by a thick layer of poured concrete that stores the heat and then radiates it into the house at night. The top of the wall can be opened in the summer to help boost ventilation and prevent the house from over heating.(1) The house was originally designed as a rectangular plan but then modified in 1976 with a southern-facing greenhouse. (2)

The main entrance of the house is on the north side,which is catty-corner to the street. The narrow end of the house faces the street and the house extends length size into the lot. There are minimal window treatments, but they are all rectangular in shape and irregularly place with red trimmed accents. The walls are made of unpainted plywood, giving the house a dark but textured facade. The roof angles down to the north side and has two chimneys right above the trombe wall. The house is unique in the area for its massive use of glass for the trombe wall and the plywood materials used for the facade. The house has almost no ornamentation and uses the patterns of the plywood for decoration. The southern trombe wall is easily visible and proudly displayed, providing the house with the Modernist views that form follows function.

(1) Kelbaugh, Doug. Repairing the American Metropolis: Common place revisited. University of Washington Press, 2002. Print, 65.

(2) Craig, Robert W.. The Report of the Princeton Architecture Survey prepared for the Princeton Joint History Sites Comission. NJ Office of Cultural and Environmental Services, September 1981. Print, Historic Site Inventory #1109-10-I18.

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