The Cedar Park house is perched on a bluff high above Lake Washington. The house takes advantage of the prospect afforded by a steep site, while at the same time strengthening the fragile slope and collecting the water that threatens to de-stabilize it.
The roofs of the house reflect different strategies for collecting water. The western roof conveys rainwater far enough up-site to allow it to drain naturally to the street. The eastern roof deposits water into three large concrete cisterns that store the water for flushing toilets, doing laundry and watering the gardens.
Two site-cast concrete walls define the major interior and exterior spaces. The first follows along the northern boundary, cupping at the end to form an outdoor hearth. The second parallels the first, then bends twice, first to mark the entry and then to define the southern edge. Together the walls form a Y that cradles the heart of the site and opens it up to the view of Lake Washington to the east.
The clients for this house in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle wanted to build economically, responsibly and creatively. The 1,940 square-foot house has a simple rectangular volume that has been folded in two places on the ground floor to respond to the particularities of the site. Living spaces are oriented to the south to optimize sunlight. The entry porch angles toward the street - with an embedded boulder to provide a kid-friendly perch. The house has abundant wall space for art and shelves for books. Activities revolve around a double-height living space and an open-riser stair. A garage door in the dining/kitchen area allows activities to flow outdoors in good weather.
Livability and durability were of paramount importance. The house was built with advanced framing techniques and has a radiant concrete floor. The rain-screen walls are clad with cedar slats in the places they can be touched and corrugated metal for a maintenance-free exterior elsewhere.
Shortly after completion of the L2Q house the owners decided to build a structure on the alley for an art studio and a small apartment. The backyard cottage, or detached accessory dwelling unit, is a building type recently permitted by the city of Seattle with the hopes of increasing population density and creating more affordable housing options in certain neighborhoods of the city. The L2Q studio represents an early example of this building type.
A compact double-height studio on the ground floor receives abundant northern light through large polycarbonate-clad clerestory windows. The upper floor leans out over a carport below to capture views of the Cascade Mountains to the east. Simplicity of form, minimal detailing and the use of inexpensive but durable materials allowed the project to be completed for $125 per square foot.
This house and bunkhouse/garage are located on a narrow spit of land on Pickering Passage at the south end of Puget Sound, with views of the passage, Hartstine Island and Squaxin Island to the east. Each building is composed of two elements: a lower, more enclosed volume that defines the yard between the two buildings and a larger, more expansive volume with an exposed timber frame that faces outward. The bunkhouse/garage contains a shop and garage below and a flexible living/sleeping space above that faces the central yard. The main house is located closest to the water facing east, where all of the major living spaces are afforded a panoramic view of the water, islands and sky.
This addition and complete renovation of an existing house built on a high-bank site in West Seattle retains the Northwest Modern character of the original structure that was built the early 1970s. The introduction of a steel frame in the center of the house allows the major living spaces to merge together and open up to the expansive views of Elliot Bay and the Olympic Mountains to the west.
A steel bridge spans the double-height entry space, connecting the spaces built over the expanded garage to the main volume of the house and to an open-riser stair that descends to the garden level. A consistent palette of blackened steel, natural wood and stone tile tie the disparate elements of the house together.
This addition and renovation of an house built on San Juan Island in the 1960s takes advantage of its western orientation and an expansive view of the Haro Straight and Vancouver Island framed by mature madrona trees. Perched on a steep bank over prime orca whale habitat the house opens up dramatically to the sights, sounds and smells of the marine waters below.