The WILDERNESS SPACESTATION represents an approach to a wilderness home in which the "contemporary hi-tech" design evolved from a desire to experiment with new energy conservation principals, and new approaches to plumbing and heating systems. The site did not have from-the-grid power and would not accommodate a conventional septic system. The central structural steel "core", complete with water and sewage systems pre-installed, was fabricated off-site and trucked to the remote property. The SPACESTATION is built on a granite bluff facing due west toward a two mile long "inner costal" bay on a large lake in northern Minnesota. Some of the features incorporated include:

1. A real daylighting design that allows the sun to provide natural light and warmth throughout the day. The two story south facing, all glass sun-space is the Dining, Kitchen and heart of the home. No matter what the weather, it is always possible to work or read using natural light, or solar generated light from extremely-energy-efficient LED light clusters.

2. A substantial passive solar heat ingredient, including the Dining/Sun-Space, and an all-glass pyramidal roof over the Bathroom. The shower and hot tub are in a stainless steel tank sitting directly below the glass pyramid. The water in the tub absorbs and stores the heat from the sun. A submerged wood burning stove heats the water and the heat is returned again to the space after its use. The hot tub is positioned to allow a view of the lake over the roof. The granite floor slabs in the Dining and Bath store the sun's heat and release it at night.

3. Super insulation on all interior and exterior floors, walls and roofs consisting of solid, insulating-foam-filled, structural insulated panels.

4. Total room compartmentalization and operable vertical floor separation with individual room heating so that it is necessary to heat only the rooms that are occupied. The building is not heated when it is not occupied, and any sunny day above 20 degrees the space heats itself. Summer time exhaust ventilation is provided by automatic, direct solar run roof fans.

5. A freeze resistant plumbing system in which all of the water piping and faucets are contained in a double walled, insulated, central stainless steel shaft running vertically through the four floors. All of the plumbing fixtures are arranged directly off this shaft. There are no sink traps to freeze or to add anti-freeze. Hot water is provided by an energy efficient, instantaneous LP hot water heater.

6. A non-polluting composting sewage treatment system in which the second floor toilet room is connected by a stainless steel chute to a built-in compositing tank, two stories below in the Utility Room. The toilet requires no water to be pumped, or wasted, and anti-freeze is not required when the heat is off. Gray water from the sinks, shower and hot tub is dispersed to a small leach field.

7. The SPACESTATION incorporates a photovoltaic electric system in which pole mounted "tracking" solar panels provide 12V DC lighting and entertainment, with a backup LP generator.

The design solution for the SPACESTATION incorporates three bedrooms, living, kitchen, dining/sunroom, and bath/hot tub in a 1,486 sq. ft., compact, bright, warm, very bold structure with an incredible view.

Click here to view the WILDERNESS SPACESTATION floor plans. 



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Paul A. Meier