Black Brothers Builders Builder

Breakwater House

Breakwater House, Rockland Maine | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Breakwater House, Rockland Maine | Kaplan Thompson Architects

Swipe photo to see more


A couple "from away" wanted to create an in-town office/home suitable for extended vacations, with two independent work areas & a modern take on the Maine vernacular. The site boasts panoramic views of Rockland's working waterfront & historic breakwater lighthouse. The historic neighborhood has an established urban pattern of small properties & houses in close proximity.

The challenge was to create an affordable low energy/net zero energy home.


A compact house that respects the neighborhood street pattern, on a simple rectangular foundation with no basement. Guest rooms, storage & services on the 1st floor. Open plan living spaces on the 2nd floor. Primary work space & Bedroom on the 3rd floor.

Exterior doors & decks facing east frame stunning views of the breakwater lighthouse & Penobscot Bay. Large south-facing windows capture winter sun, but are protected from summer sun by exterior slats. A carport structure doubles as a large 2nd floor deck, and a balcony suspended off the 3rd floor provides a crow's nest perch for two, with a 270 degree view.

Budget / Economy


Energy Efficient

House aligned to capture views to the east, & winter sun from the south
Fiberglass triple glazed windows (R-4.5)
Insulated floating slab (R-20)
12" thick double stud framed walls (R-45)
Super insulated roof (R-60)
Passive ventilation
Mitsubishi mini-split ductless heat pumps
Tight exterior shell (0.9 ACH50 blower door test)
Concrete slab plumbed for future radiant floor

Renewable Power

Rooftop PVs with micro-inverters
2,100 kWh/year estimated PV power production