Location Savannah, GA
Site 27 acres
Completed 2012
Program 100 units of senior housing (Phase III)

His work on Sustainable Fellwood is the realization of a goal architect Randy Pimsler has had since the 1970s, when he watched the retail price of gasoline nearly double because of the oil crisis. He returned to school to study architecture, specifically seeking to integrate alternative energy into his designs. Forty years later, Pimsler, joined by Allen Hoss to form Pimsler Hoss Architects, is realizing this goal with the firm’s new mixed-use, mixed-income development in Savannah, Georgia. Pimsler Hoss Architects was responsible for Phase III of the project, which called for the design and construction of 100 units of senior housing. Completed in February 2012, Pimsler and Hoss are aiming for LEED-ND Platinum certification, and here, the architects walk us through their main design considerations.

As Sustainable As Possible

“The development team hired us because of our commitment to sustainability, so it wasn’t a question of if we’d be sustainable, but how sustainable we could be,” Hoss says. Phase III of Fellwood features a photovoltaic system designed by One World Sustainable, the rooftop solar panels converting the sun’s energy into electricity.


Architect Pimsler Hoss Architects (Phase III)
Developers The Woda Group (phases II and III), Parallel Housing, CHSA Development, Melaver
Civil Engineer Long Engineering
Landscape Architect jB+a
Construction Manager Axiom Management
Construction Catamount Residential

The building features spray-applied cellulose insulation, which is made from recycled newspapers and requires only three-fourths of the energy of fiberglass to manufacture. The senior residences also feature low-E glass to reflect heat energy and Niagra low-flow toilets and water-saving faucets made by Pfister. “We chose these brands not only because they offered the energy-saving aspects that we wanted, but also because they offered a more contemporary look that worked with our budget,” Hoss says.

Walkability and Interaction

EarthCraft communities place an emphasis on walkability and interaction. The EarthCraft criteria are set up by the Southface Energy Institute in Atlanta, of which both Pimsler and Hoss are members. (Pimsler Hoss Architects actually designed the first Southface Energy Institute building.) Not only must EarthCraft developments meet certain qualifications, but those responsible for the design must also engage the local community in the design process. Dealing with the public, however, is something both Pimsler and Hoss are very comfortable with.


Certification LEED Platinum (expected)
Insulation Spray-foam cellulose, made from recycled newspapers
Windows Low-E glass reflects heat energy and reduces cooling costs
Planning EarthCraft communities promote walkability and community interaction

“We’re comfortable in the community, and asking for their input is not only a matter of course, but a matter of principal.” Hoss says. “Every project has a direct impact on the community, and it’s our duty to hear the community’s concerns. With Fellwood, the biggest concern was that they didn’t want the development to feel like a secondary community; they wanted it to be a natural part of the neighborhood. So we took advantage of outside amenities, like a large park across from the development. With EarthCraft Communities, the development has to relate to the community surrounding it, and I think we took that to a new level.”

Keeping It Classic

Fellwood was a redevelopment of post-World War II housing with Phase III acting as the heart of the complex. Upon entrance, it provides visitors their first impressions of the development, and the architects wanted to make it a lasting one. “We wanted the development to have a timeless quality; it had to be classic,” Hoss says. “The structure is contemporary, but not over the top. We wanted the building to have a timeless architecture that would still be admired many years from now. It’s modern and sustainable.”