The Joy of Being Green

When I studied architecture in Berlin in the eighties I had absolutely no clue about sustainability and energy efficiency.

Like many students, my only goal was to become an outstanding designer. My role models were famous architects like Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius and Erich Mendelsohn. More current influences came from the contemporary architects Norman Foster, Renzo Piano and Richard Rogers, among others. I read a lot about these icons of modernism and I adored (and still do) these big names. Their portfolios made a great impression on me and I studied their work quite intensely.

Nevertheless, after graduation I quickly began to understand that there was more to architecture than just great design. I noticed that many of the big name practices also focused on using smart technology and design in order to make their buildings energy efficient and sustainable. I found it fascinating that beautiful buildings and structures could do more for the environment than just look great. I was hooked instantly. If it was possible to design buildings that served their purpose, looked aesthetically pleasing and needed less energy for heating and cooling, I wanted to do nothing else in my career.

One piece was missing in my picture: my clients didn’t necessarily share my passion and eagerness for sustainable buildings. I learned the hard way that the mechanisms of the real estate market did not really appreciate green designs. I remember one of my clients listened to my presentation, and obviously understood the benefits of an energy efficient approach. Sadly, he concluded that my ideas sounded great, but that his tenants would not pay a higher rent to cover the extra costs for a better building.

I found that experience very painful and rather frustrating. Although I ended up building a conventional house that time, I did manage to convince new clients of the benefits of environmentally friendly buildings. Luckily, I came across Georg Huf, the owner of Huf Haus, a leading German manufacturer of green luxury homes. We hit it off and he asked me if I was interested in designing homes for his customers in and around Berlin. This was 1991, and the beginning of an interesting journey toward more sustainable and user-friendly built environments.

Years later, after moving to the UK and completing over 250 Huf homes in Germany, England, Scotland and Ireland, including a 50 bed nursing home in Sligo, which turned out to be one of the most energy efficient buildings of its kind in Ireland, we started designing homes for Baufritz, another well-known, German high-end manufacturer. This was indeed a great experience! Their company philosophy, design flexibility, green manufacturing techniques and passion for building science greatly influenced us. In 2008, however, my wife Michelle, who is an Ohio-native, and I decided it was time to move on and relocate to the US.

This period of my career was extremely exciting and an invaluable source of inspiration, education and knowledge. Maintaining my independence as an architect, I was able to meet many interesting people who were extremely passionate about sustainable home building.

Coming from 20 years of experience in the field of manufacturing and in the design of energy efficient homes, we were absolutely stunned by the strong green movement in the US, which demonstrated incredible momentum and pace.

When Michelle and I began our business here in the States, we noticed an overwhelming demand for green homes. Many people were drawn to us because of the contemporary designs we have to offer. Most, however, were interested in the combination of energy efficient homes and modern aesthetics. It seemed out we had hit the nail on the head. Green and healthy homes, well designed, with a European edge and clear lined designs are very appealing to many people who are looking to build their dream home.

We found this so very motivating and exciting that we resolved to create custom homes as premium prefabs, which led to the formation of evoDOMUS. In doing so, we have developed the most incredible homes we could imagine. Our focus is on energy efficient, sustainable, healthy homes, carefully designed in order to provide optimal usability, based on passive house standards and beyond. And we enjoy every minute of it. This is the most exciting endeavor I’ve ever undertaken in my career. It is fulfilling and delightful to meet so many inspiring people and potential clients who respect and love what we do, people who share our visions and goals.

Our aim is to contribute in making this world a better place with the collaboration and dedication of our clients.