Work: Ramirez Solar House: Historic US Solar House & Cultural Landscape
Located in the heart of the Delaware Gap National Park, the Ramirez Solar House, nominated to the U.S. National Register of Historic Places, is one of the earliest examples of passive solar residential design (known as the second solar house in the United States and earliest surviving example in this country). It is certainly one of the most original and most fascinating examples of renovating a classic American colonial home (1900’s colonial revival villa) into an ingeniously green, sustainable country house. The cultural landscape and property of the house encompasses 122 Acres and is bounded on one edge by the Raymondskill waterfalls which are the tallest in the State of Pennsylvania. We believe it is the most significant house in the country to tell the story of Sustainability.
In 1943 - 1944, the Architect and solar pioneer Henry N. Wright, Jr. FAIA renovated the house for Gustavo Ramirez by merging modernist ideals into the existing 1910 structure. The most distinctive design feature during the renovation was to completely reconfigure the roof and cut back the porches to expose a new 18-foot-tall ‘glass window’ that supplies the solar energy to the house. Today, the house can be described as an amalgamation of late Victorian and modernist architecture and an inspiring example of early passive solar design in American architecture.
The house is owned by the National Park Service. The residence was vacant from 1986, when the Park Service first took ownership of the house until 2012. In 2012, the Ramirez Solar House 501(c)(3) organization was created. This non-for-profit organization, spearheaded by Jessica Jamroz, worked together with the National Park Service in an effort to conserve, preserve and rehabilitate the house. Donating both time and professional services to the project, the non-for-profit developed educational programs that showcased the house as a hot spot for conversations and thinking about early to present ideas of Environmental and Sustainable Design. All proceeds funded maintenance and restoration of the house, tours, and educational programs in sustainable domestic architecture.