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Integrative Healing Center Residence


ENTRANTEcoheal Inc.
Project LocationChapel Hill, NC
Category: Alternative Building

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  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    The walls of the building are made of 13.5” thick straw clay and 1.5” lime plaster on each side. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    Daylight is maximized by use of a carefully designed skylight and interior daylighting windows. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    All the trees were felled and milled on site to constitute the flooring, decking, over hangs, counters, trimming and additional decorative aspects of the house. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    Daylight is maximized by use of a carefully designed skylight and interior daylighting windows. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    Poly-gem double glass windows are used in the home. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    The floor mimics the ceiling of the twelve-sided building surrounding a naturally lit central point.  Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    The project is situated on a 1.55 acre track where a completed private residence, future Integrated Healing Center facility, and a proposed Art Center are being developed to create an integration of healthy living, working, and creative healing environments. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    The structure is almost 1800 SF and accommodates 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and an office.  Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

    Excavated rock was used in steps and pathways for the completed house. Photos: Todd Tinkham Photography


Project Overview

The Integrative Healing and Learning Center, located in Chapel Hill NC, is part of a mixed use residential community adjacent to an educational farm known as Spence Farm, and an alternative Waldorf School. The project is situated on a 1.55 acre track where a completed private residence, future Integrated Healing Center facility, and a proposed Art Center are being developed to create an integration of healthy living, working, and creative healing environments. Our approach toward creating healing experiences is interdisciplinary by nature where Holistic Medicine is responding to Eco-Restorative Architecture and Ontology. These improvements to the land are dedicated to ecological suitability and are seen as an integral part of the sacred spirit of the land. All the trees were felled and milled on site (Pine, Cedar, Oak and Walnut) to constitute the flooring, decking, over hangs, counters, trimming and additional decorative aspects of the house. During construction, the local timber was used on many occasions for different opportunities (forming, scaffolding, wall straw packing, etc.)

  1.        Residence design features: Close to 1800 SF house when wall thickness is accounted for to accommodate 3 bedrooms, 1.5 bathrooms and an office in the home. Site design includes a landscape that encourages permaculture practices conducive to natural propagation of foliage. To further reduce our Carbon footprint, the project integrated used recycled and donated materials in every step of the way, such as bath tub and sinks.
  2.        Technology and innovations: Patented technologies are being used for rain water collection and vortex water filtration. Rain water can be directed to separate cisterns at demand. Control stations are placed at the southern and northern walls to monitor moisture contents and temperatures of the inner walls to secure long term integrity of the natural walls. In order to manage the inclusion of safe natural waste streams for the nutritional benefit of the surrounding landscape, dual plumbing for Urine Divergence is in place pending approval of local and State jurisdictions. LED lighting is used throughout, thereby reducing energy consumption to just 14.5 amps.

Twelve 40 foot long structural interior steel tie rods enable the design of a 40 foot clear span enabling the use of non-load bearing interior wall throughout.  This one feature gave the architect/owner full liberty to daylight the interior of the building in remarkable ways. (Refer to photographs).

  1.         Site Work and Design: All concentrated water flow derived from the roof are first channeled through 3 large capacity cisterns to mitigate storm water runoff. Finished grading and use of retaining walls were designed to minimize surface rain runoff velocity. Topsoil was preserved and subsequently organically enhanced for reuse without use of chemicals. The subsoil was sifted and used for the light straw clay slip natural building technology walls throughout the residence except at basement level.  Excavated rock and salvaged local urbanite constituted an important part of the retaining walls, steps and pathways for the completed house.
  2.        Eco-Restorative Architecture features: In addition to the uniquely stepped roof surface that optimizes insulation values where they can be best utilized, the roof is designed to harvest rainwater without exposure to fossil based pollutants. Location of all window spaces allows more natural lighting from the north side and passive solar lighting in the south end. Located at the center of the roof is a large, remotely operable, and PV powered skylight that allows programmable passive ventilation as part of a comprehensive ventilation system.

This stored rain water is used for toilette flushing and exterior irrigation. The walls of the building are made of 13.5” thick Straw clay and 1.5” Lime plaster on each side. Those constitute an incredible insulation and geothermal quality toward such healing experience.

  1.        Healthy Living: True integration of human habitat involves the combination of good building design and human physical and mental health. Here are the most basic design elements used towards this end: To improve restful sleep, the house addresses electromagnetic pollution (EMF) by permanently distancing the electrical meter from the house; metal lathing the exterior and interior walls of the building among other approaches as well as minimize mechanical sounds including Geothermal and dehumidification systems in basement; maximizing daylighting by means of carefully designed sky lighting and interior daylighting windows and programmable control systems; 24v DC lighting used throughout the interior for both energy efficiency and reduction of electrical current induced magnetic fields; virtually the entire living space is VOC free.
  2.        The spiritual in the physical:

The twelve sided building surrounding a naturally lit central point, the Native American four spiritual orientations expressed through the orientation of the walls, the golden numbers expressed in the rails of the balcony along the central wall trims, the golden rectangle at the northern end of the central space and lotus shaped upper walls of the second floor are part of the many mythological expressions that reflect another expansion of such healing experience. Two additional expressions favored by Frank Lloyd Wright are the feeling of squeeze before the expansion as you ascend through the stairs before the opening that the upper floor balcony and the feeling of suspension through the two suspended balconies by their related robust chains is an invitation for moderation and contentment for our day-to-day life while remaining mindful of all living beings.

Lastly we are proud to report our HERS rating of 58 that equate to 72% more efficiency compared to standard existing homes. For a natural building capable to have an envelope leakage ACH50= 2.26 brings new understanding that natural buildings are able to blind of energy efficiency, beauty and health to our living space.

: David Anderson, David Anderson Construction | NC Architect: Tim Watson, TLWArchitectHillsborough, NC Developer:  Dani Mouawad, MD,  Dalia Holding LLC | Chapel Hill, NC Land Planner: Dani Mouawad, MD, Dalia Holding LLC | Chapel Hill, NC Landscape Architect: Laura Baldwin,  In The Koop Inc | Hillsborough, NC Interior Designer:  Dani Mouawad, MD Dalia Holding LLC | Chapel Hill, NC

  • Integrative Healing Center Residence
  • Integrative Healing Center Residence
  • Integrative Healing Center Residence
  • Integrative Healing Center Residence

 Click Floorplan(s) to Enlarge View

Products Specified

Alternative Building SystemsLight Straw Clay slip with lime&sand plastering, Passive Solar scaled roofing to maximize Northern lighting, innovative passive vertical indoor ventilation, controllable LED lighting to simulate outdoor lighting (intensity and colors), Comprehensive EMF protection through metal lath shielding and mitigating EMF emitting apparatus, Urbanite for landscaping, Rain water collection and filtration System, Moister monitoring and control of building envelope and indoor air, SIP panel roofing, Rice husk as  sound insulation and fire retardant in selected areas. Geothermal and independent Dehumidifier systems, Urine divergence infrastructure. The intension is to promote safe and aesthetically healing environment while setting the stage for further research and development for an interdisciplinary Healing Space.
Appliances: Climate Master Tranquility 30 Geothermal system. DR90-2000A Dehumidifier. All appliances are Energy Star Certified.
Automotive:Electric Car charging and PV panel are part of phase II of the Integrative Healing Center 
Building EnvelopeLight Straw Clay Slip. The clay was shifted from our property and packed into wooden frames. Lime, sand, straw and Mullite constituted the material for plastering inside and outside overlapping metal lathing for EMF shielding.

Cabinets, shelves, millwork: Designed and handmade from local lumber mostly from the Property itself (Cedar, Pine, Walnut and White Oak)

Caulks and Sealants:Negligible amount of caulking or other synthetic material. The prevailing sealing materials are Linseed oil and Shellac.  The Bathroom Wall Sealed with Olive oil Soap. 
Central Vac: Close to 35 feet elevation permitted effective passive ventilation through a remotely controllable skylight window  
CountertopsDesigned and made from Local Walnut wood sealed with butcher oil.
Decks2 balconies made of locally harvested Oak wood suspended by thick chains attached to the overhangs of the roof
Door/Hardware: Handmade main door reflecting Renaissance Style made from Cedar wood from the land. 
Electrical200 Amp AC service with 24 volt DC LED lighting and two 24DC outlets. The Permanent meter located 20 feet away from the building as part of a mindful low EMF designed House. 
Exterior Finishes: : Natural plastering with Lime, Sand, Mullite and Straw, total of three layers
Fire ProtectionNatural Plastering and Boric Acid coating on wooden frames along with Rice Husk filling are part of the fire protection in addition to our compliance to standard of the international code for building.
FlooringMade of pine & cedar wood filled and milled from the land. Tiles limited to a small area around the toilette.
FurnitureMainly wooden, some glass and metal surfaces. 
Garage Doors: None, open parking 
Home ControlsLED lights controlled through radio waves or Wi-Fi. Central Skylight Window powered by an integral PV panel and remotely programmable and controlled.   
HVAC/DuctsIntentionally independent Dehumidifier in case of power shortage. Geothermal System with Flexible& hard standard residential code.
InsulationInner & outer walls (Light Clay Slip). Roofing (SIP Panel), Basement (Straw, Rice husk and foam boards), Upper level walls (rice husks) for sound insulation
LandscapingHardscape and retaining walls from recovered Stones and Rocks from local excavation. Urbanite recovered from dumping, were used for pathway and exterior steps in addition to retaining walls. The landscape takes into consideration permaculture practices
Lighting: LED 24V DC with dimming and light wave control to simulate the bluish morning and reddish evening natural lights

Paints and StainsNatural oils; linseed, tongue oil, shellac and limited low VOC paints 
PaversChiseled concrete pavement (Urbanite) recovered locally
Plumbing Fixtures
Faucet with automatic shutoff, Low flow shower head, Low flow and dual flushing toilette, pressure tank that pumps rain water from a total of 4500 gallons (3 septic tanks as rain water containers) for toilet flushing and irrigation all to minimize waist and maximize reclaim water. In addition to filtering system to improve water quality.

Renewable Energy System: PV panel for Skylight window

Roof: SIP panel with EPDM membrane. The overhang is scaled to permit perfect passive solar on the south end and higher penetration of natural lighting on the north end of the building
Specialty Products: Straw is infused with diatomaceous earth and 10-15%Boric acid. The same was applied to the entire framing structure and at the perimeter of the building as an antifungal and termite/ insect repellent

StructuralStandard concrete block basement and wood framing 
VentilationManeuverable upper floor inner windows. When closed they permit heal retention in bedroom during the winter and heat evacuation in the summer when open, thanks to the central skylight that permit effective passive evacuation. The latter close automatically in the event of unexpected rain.
Water FiltrationDouble water filtration of reclaimed rain. First through a vortex filtration apparatus than through standard washable filter.
Water Heating: Geothermal/ central
Waste ManagementRain water capture in three concrete tanks which function as retaining walls to basement and step over to back patio and entrance. BTS (black welder Tank Services; a green company)
Window Coverings: Wire screen
Windows/Skylights/Patio DoorsDouble glass windows (Ply-gem), Central Skylight as above described, Standard Patio Door framed with cedar and Pine trimming. 
OtherThe design constantly kept in mind health promoting concepts. Examples: about 90% of what we wear daily constitutes 10% of what our closet contains. So is the large laundry room to quarantine what we rarely use. The outcome is less potential for allergy and more practicality to our daily use of closet and less potential for dust collection and UV deterioration as the laundry room has minimal lighting. 

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