Structure Type: built works - dwellings - houses

Designers: Kelbaugh and Lee, Architects (firm); Douglas Stewart Kelbaugh (architect); Sang Lee (architect)

Dates: constructed 1973-1975

2 stories

70 Pine Street
Tree Streets, Princeton, NJ 08542

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The Trombe Wall House was a very early use of a masonry wall placed behind a glass wall designed to absorb solar radiation that could be then radiated out during cooler times of the day. It was built during the 1970s second generation of interest in passive solar housing in the US. The first wave of solar house design occurred in the 1930s and 1940s, although most of these earlier dwellings did not use the Trombe concept.

Building History

According to various sources, this was the first Trombe-wall residence built in the US. It was erected 1974-1975 as a pioneering passive solar house. It contained a glazed, two-story wall facing south with a concrete Trombe wall set in the center to support the shed roof and to store solar heat that could be radiated out during cooler winter hours. The Trombe wall concept was named for the French engineer, Félix Trombe (born 1906 in Nogent, France-d. 1985 in Ganties, France) and became increasingly studied by the late 1960s.

A passage in Douglas Kelbaugh's Princeton obituary said of this house: "In the mid-1970s, he built an innovative solar home at 70 Pine Lane in Princeton, incorporating a Trombe wall, a south-facing glass wall backed by a concrete wall that collects and radiates heat." (See Princeton University, School of, "Alumnus Douglas Kelbaugh, pioneer in passive solar architecture, dies age 78," accessed 02/27/2023.)

Building Notes

The house contained 3 bedrooms and 2.5 baths in 2023, and occupied a 6,098-square-foot lot.

It sold in 2022 for $999,000.

PCAD id: 24602