Architect: WA Design Inc
Location: Tahoe Donner, California, USA
Project Team: David Stark Wilson, Chris Parlette, Torin Etter, Ben Howell, Eoi Takagi
Landscape: WA design
Engineer: Kenneth Hughes
Civil Engineer: Tim Ferrell
Mechanical Engineer: Monterey Mechanical
Contractor Team: Turner Construction; Al Turner, Chaz Kruck, Ian Waight, Mark Hollerbach
Interior Furnishings: Client, WA design (custom pieces)
Project Area: 4,960 sqf
Project Year: 2010
Photographs: Courtesy of WA Design Inc
The Tahoe Ridge house is located on one of the last large parcels in the Tahoe area. Eight acres of land with dense stands of white and red fir slope upward to the rocky granite ridge crest that forms a backstop to this exceptional site. This was the second home we had designed for the clients, the first being the Strathmoor House, also in this book. The usual period of getting acquainted was already in place for the Tahoe Ridge House. Our design aesthetics and goals were aligned at the onset to conceive of a contemporary building uniquely rooted in the Tahoe area and the spectacular site.
Vernacular mining and stamp mill buildings in the Tahoe area inspired the design of this home. Long before Tahoe was a ski resort, it was a gold rush destination. Tall stamp mills were used to pulverize hard rock into fine silt from which the gold could be removed. All movement of material within the mill was achieved by gravity hence the structures are characteristically elongated vertically.
Significant mountain vistas quickly became a key design consideration. Views of the mountains of Nevada to the north, to Tinker’s knob and the Sierra Crest to the south, needed to be revealed. These criteria resulted in a floor plan that sprawls along two orthogonal axes and ascends vertically to the north to the study and master bedroom. The experience of flow along the axes is enhanced by a clear rhythm of 10” x 10” recycled Douglas fir structural posts that tie in with the roof framing above.
A mix of Western Red Cedar and Galvalume metal siding applied as a tight skin pay further homage to the old mining buildings. On the interior of the home, large recycled timbers and heavy metal bracketing extend the industrial aesthetic and resist the substantial snow loads of winter. Large Sierra White granite blocks are carved and hewn to form the fireplace hearths. The building throughout is clearly rooted in and derived from its mountainous site. A large male black bear has lived in the boulders above the house for many years and remains undaunted by recent construction, occasionally strolling unhurriedly down the new entry drive.
Text provided by WA Design Inc.