The 21st century home should be an integrated whole that respects a number of criteria such as spatial quality, energy efficiency, intelligent use of resources, and awareness of site and environmental conditions.


Over the last several years MLA has been developing a series of integrated green small houses to include active and passive solar design, pre-fabricated / modular construction techniques, geo-thermal energy, “cool” roofing and siding solutions, water management and conservation, adaptive foundations, and carefully detailed building envelopes.


This led to a series of “Kit Houses” that share the following characteristics:


  • Excellent R-values (R-40 walls, R-60 roof and R-30 floors)

  • Continuous air seal

  • Triple-glazed windows

  • Energy recovery ventilation systems that allow continuous fresh air with very little energy loss.

  • “Rain-screen” exterior finish, as an extremely durable exterior treatment that allows the house to control moisture and water vapor in the most advantageous way.

  • SIPS prefabricated panel construction. These panels can be pre-fabricated in sizes easily transported and assembled by a small crew, and provide excellent structural and thermal characteristics.


All of these factors contribute to a building envelope that greatly limits energy losses, while providing for a high level of interior comfort. They also relate directly to standards established by the Passive House Institute and, depending on the site and orientation, can provide for a house with energy consumption at 7-10% of that expected from conventional construction.


Passive House principles offer a highly informed outlook on state-of-the-art construction standards. To this end, Michael Lewis has been certified by the Institute as a Passive House designer. MLA’s work on the Kit Houses is part of the firm’s ever deepening commitment to the progression of residential architecture.

WHAT PEOPLE SAY:  "We had a great experience working with Michael Lewis and his team on the first phase of our renovation project and will work with them again on the second half, too. Michael created a beautiful design for our bedroom-addition that corrected a decades-old renovation and produced an end result that fits seamlessly into the original Dutch Colonial style. We really appreciated the time that he and the team took to understand our goals and work with us in shaping the design. And their assistance in selecting a contractor and managing the renovation process has been invaluable. We highly recommend the firm."

—  Jesse Perrin, Owner



Westchester Architect