All photos courtesy of Brad Dickson / River Architects, PLLC

Located in the foothills of the Catskill Mountains overlooking the Delaware River Valley, the world’s first Passive House certified cider house is now open. The based Callicoon Seminary Hill Orchard and Cider House was designed as a low-energy structure, with an airtight thermal envelope, triple-glazed windows and photovoltaic solar panels. Conceived by River architects, the structure is not only durable but also architecturally appealing, showcasing gaping wood siding, interiors clad in wood reclaimed from the original Tappan Zee Bridge stilts, and lovely views of the apple orchard.

Measuring 9,300 square feet, the Seminary Orchard & Cidery houses an organic cider production facility, tasting room, commercial kitchen and event space. The design by River Architects is a nod to the barns found throughout the Hudson Valley, a “modern take on a classic” bank barn “built into the side of a hill,” as described in a press release. Based in the Hudson Valley Baxter built the cider house.

The wooden siding of the main entrance filters light from outside to inside, with the tasting room and event space being clad in larch wood reclaimed from the underwater pilings of the original Tappan Zee Bridge. A wraparound patio and balcony overlook the scenic Delaware River Valley and surrounding countryside.

“I spent my childhood exploring the barns of the Hudson Valley, many of which don’t exist today,” said James Hartford, Principal and Creative / Technical Partner of River Architects, PLLC. “This experience inspired the wooden slatted entrance and its attractive shadow play during the day, which turns into a lantern at night.”

Certified by the Passive House Institute US, the building’s insulated thermal envelope prevents heat loss or gain, while its triple-glazed windows help warm the room during winter, while providing peaceful views of the orchard. . According to the architects, photovoltaic solar panels produce most of the electricity and solar thermal collectors power portable water heaters used to sterilize equipment.

Ecological awareness does not stop with the design of the cider house but continues throughout the stages of cider production. The water used to wash the fruit and the equipment comes from an on-site gray water management system, the lighting and signage comply with the starry sky and the production space is built into the hillside to naturally maintain the cold temperatures necessary for storage and fermentation.

“At Seminary Hill, the value of sustainability informs every aspect of our operation, from the design of the cider house to the holistic methods used in our orchard,” said Susan Manning, co-founder of Seminary Hill. “Although our cider house represents a new chapter in Callicoon, apple cultivation and cider making have been an important part of the local economy since the mid-19th century. “

Located about three hours from New York City in Sullivan County, Seminary Hill spans 62 acres of land. In addition to the tasting room, the facility includes the apple orchard, guest house, and wedding venue.


All photos courtesy of Brad Dickson / River Architects, PLLC

Keywords :
Hudson Valley, passive house