Park Passive

Client: Cascade Built
GSF: 2,710
Contractor: Cascade Built
Completion: 2013
Location: Seattle, WA

Energy Performance

Passive House (PHI Certified)


78 (Very Walkable)



AIA 2014 Housing Award


PHIUS 2016 Passive Projects Design Award


Park Passive challenges conventional notions of how an ultra-efficient home should look and feel. Modernity, light, luxury, and sustainability coexist. The 4-bedroom, 2.5-bath home is Seattle’s first certified Passive House and one of the Pacific Northwest’s most energy efficient. The home uses 75% less energy than a typical home while maintaining a steady interior temperature of 70 degrees. Heat recovery ventilation provides a steady flow of filtered fresh air into a draft-free, super-insulated building envelope. The result is a healthier, quieter, and more comfortable home environment for a young family of four. 

Photos by Aaron Leitz Photography


  • Tight, 2,000 SF urban infill lot
  • Oddly shaped zoning envelope
  • Thermal bridging due to extra framing necessary to go vertical
  • Limited access to sunshine


While Park Passive’s site was full of challenges for the Passive House designer, the solutions to these challenges shaped the home’s award-winning design. To accommodate the 2,700 square foot home on the 2,000 square foot site, we fused the massing from the site’s existing cottage with a new upturned rectangular mass defined by the parcel’s current zoning. This unique zoning envelope meant that the building’s shape became fairly articulated, with extra wood framing necessary to support the building’s verticality. This increased the likelihood that thermal bridges would pierce the home’s thermal layer, so we specified 17” insulation-filled walls to thermally isolate inside from outside and to hold onto any solar heat gain captured on a site with 

2000 sf Urban Infill lot and New zoning envelope
Vertical Envelope of Park Passive
Passive House methodology applied to Park Passive

The home’s interior spaces “reach for the sky,” with large skylights providing a generous cascade of natural light down through the home’s vertical spaces. A double-vaulted kitchen at ground floor connects spatially with the play area upstairs, while the volume created by the home’s open staircase also captures light throughout the day. The staircase volume is expressed outside by a vertical form on the home’s street-facing façade that has become a defining architectural gesture of the home. Windows chamfer into this form, creating a visual connection between inside and outside that also celebrates the thickness of the home’s Passive House envelope.

Abundant natural light from ceiling to kitchen
The staircase is a defining design component of the home

The air inside the house feels so fresh, you can almost taste its sweetness”

New York Times of Park Passive, winner of the 2014 AIA National Housing Award for Architecture and the 2016 PHIUS Passive Building Award.