Resilient Cape Cod Rehab |61 Meadowview Road, Northfield, IL 60093 view map 
Flood resilient design raised above the flood plain level, without a basement. Using a ‘flow through’ foundation that allows water to travel under the highly insulated, raised first floor structure.

SIZE: 5,369 square feet (first and second floors)

Building ventilation system
Passive solar
Solar water heating
Resilient design
Foam insulation
LED lights
Radiant floor heating

Kipnis Architecture + Planning
1642 Payne Street, Evanston, IL 60201
We are guided by the idea that architectural design excellence need not be sacrificed for principles of sustainability. Rather, we believe sustainable design expands the possibilities for innovative architectural forms, construction methods and the use of materials. A particular expertise is the architectural integration of passive solar and bioclimatic design.

Project Website:

A devastating flood in 2008 essentially destroyed a mid-century modern home. The original home is located in a flood plain, designated after the original home was built. To be able to build a new home back, the house had to be raised above the flood plain level, without a basement. A ‘flow through’ foundation was used, one that allows water to travel under the highly insulated, raised first floor structure.

In lieu of the previous home’s 1950’s ranch aesthetic, the new design was to be a Cape Cod. The only items that survived the flood were the swimming pool and a two story addition that was built to flood plain standards.

Key design elements include the use of Harmon pivot hinged doors which, when open give the first floor a completely open feel, but when closed acoustically separate the various rooms, and the second floor library, which features an arched ceiling that aligns with the prominent circle top window that is located over the front entry. A generous screened porch provides the perfect transition from the pool and yard back into the house.

The main interesting element is the resilient design of the home necessitated by it being located in a flood plain. The existing house was flooded during the worst 24 hour rainfall in Chicago’s history, in September, 2008.

The floor plan follows parts of the existing foundation and has new sections were needed. The existing basement was abandoned, with its slab broken up and filled with gravel. The new home has its elevation set 6″ above the 100 year flood level. Operable vents allow water to freely flow under the first floor of the house. Because of this, the first floor is radiantly heated so no ducts would be under the floor level. Even the A/C systems outdoor condensers are raised up to be above the flood level.

The pool in the backyard is existing. To provide heat for the water, the pool is heated with nine solar thermal panels that then provide heat for the radiant heating on the first floor in the winter. This is the best way to deploy solar thermal applications so there is a use for the hot water all year long.