The Barcode House
Washington, D.C. 

The Barcode House

The home, dubbed the Barcode House in reference to the steel rods that support the all-glass expansion, is a free-standing, 600-square-foot glass structure which blurs the lines between the inside and outside spaces. From the outside looking in, it looks like a transparent home that leaves occupants exposed. But instead, the homeowners feel connected to the light, weather, seasonal changes and the neighborhood. “We feel completely comfortable here,” says owner Tony Anderson. “We love the space and openness, which gives a sense of floating in air.”

Renowned architect David Jameson, FAIA, counted on Lorton, Va.-based Foley Mechanical, with Dan Foley and his team, to bring a sophisticated mechanical solution to the project. “The performance of the home, including how the mechanical elements work in concert with the entire building envelope, is of critical importance to the success of the project,” Jameson said. The project’s challenges included the need for technology that could perform within the unique space and envelope and without intrusiveness, in a design where nearly every square inch is visible, open living space.

Keeping the all-glass space consistently comfortable required radiant heating. “When you stand next to a big piece of glass you feel chilly because the mass pulls the heat off your body, even though the air temperature might be 70 degrees,” Foley said. “You counteract that phenomenon by surrounding yourself with warm mass in the form of radiant heat.”

Uponor was the radiant manufacturer of choice because of the quality and exceptional local support. “A good local rep will deliver what you need if something doesn’t go as planned; that kind of support puts your mind at ease,” said Foley.

An Uponor electronic mixing control package was the go-to control. Like cruise control for your heating system, it has an outdoor sensor that modulates the supply water temperature to the floor based on the outdoor temperature.

“Barcode is a unique place to live,” said Jameson. “In addition to the aesthetic beauty of the project, an uncompromising quality of comfort has to be provided.”

Jameson explains that there must be a kind of neutralizing comfort to overcome the paradigm that glass and steel are cold materials. “The radiant heat envelops the occupants so they can transcend that glass-is-cold paradigm and enjoy the pure delight of the space.”

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Project Features

• Location: Washington, D.C., Dupont Circle neighborhood
• Architect: David Jameson, FAIA, Washington, D.C.
• Mechanical Contractor: Foley Mechanical, Lorton, Va.
• House: 600-square-foot glass and steel tower

Project Data

• Uponor radiant floor heating
• Wirsbo hePEX™ tubing
• TruFLOW Manifolds
• Uponor proSeries controls
• Triangle Tube Prestige® condensing boiler
• Grundfos® variable speed pumps

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