Suncrest Residence / Heliotrope Architects

© Benjamin Benschnieder

Located in Orcas Island, , Suncrest Residence sits among trees, rocks, ponds, and bald eagle nests. Heliotrope Architects designed this new residence to minimize site disturbance and blend in with its existing environment. The result is an award winning residence (Merit Award 2010 AIA Honor Awards for Washington Architecture). More photographs and drawings following the break.

Architects: Heliotrope Architects
Location: Orcas Island, Washington, USA
Structural: Swenson Say Faget
General Contractor: Ravenhill
Project Area: 3,000 sqf
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Sean Airhart and Benjamin Benschnieder

© Benjamin Benschnieder

This new residence is located on a pristine 26 acre site comprised of a mature douglas fir and pacific madrone forest, with occasional rocky clearings and several small ponds. The site is ecologically sensitive, with bald eagle nests and trees prone to blight if disturbed. Further, soil coverage is minimal over the native basalt, therefore stormwater management is a serious concern. Our clients desired a work of architecture that took into consideration these constraints and minimized site impacts while creating a work of architecture that utilized their favorite materials (wood and concrete) and connected them intimately with the land and the view.

© Sean Airhart

Our design solution situates the home where the forest gives way to a large rocky clearing with views to the sea. The structure is ‘wrapped’ around a prominent outcropping of rock and carefully situated to require a minimum of tree removal. Strict site access protocols were put in place for the duration of construction in order to minimize site disturbance, and the landscape has been carefully restored.

site plan

The long, narrow footprint of the home allows every room a view of the sea while also retaining a strong connection to the surrounding forest. The material palette was chosen to harmonize with the colors and textures of the natural surroundings – primary materials consist of wood from the forest (doulgas fir and madrone), concrete, zinc, steel and glass. This palette has a strong dialogue with the art collection featured throughout the home – most of which is the work of the wife.

floor plan
Cite: "Suncrest Residence / Heliotrope Architects" 10 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 26 May 2015. <>
  • Felipe Parada Peñafiel

    I really like how the organic look from outside, is also in the inside, in the lighting, the furniture, the textures on the wall…

    … wonderful <3

  • Holcim Awards US

    this house has a beautiful relationship to the surrounding landscape. I love how it bends its way through the trees and makes room for the trunks to pass through the roof. Really fantastic design