Architects: Prentiss Architects
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Area: 2160.0 ft2
Project Year: 2009
Photographs: Alex Hayden
From the architect. The project is sited on a difficult highly regulated site with a steep slope to the west and a large railroad easement and setback to the east. In response to these challenges the concrete foundation and cellar are set the required distance back from the slope and the framed portion of the house is extended over the steep slope buffer to access the water view. This method of extending volumes and elements over others is carried throughout the project ultimately establishing a simple parti of two stacked rectangular volumes that elevate over the site. The second floor volume is rotated from the axis of the linear first floor volume, creating a covered entry, a stair enclosure, access to a roof garden, and focusing the bedroom, bath and office to views of the Sound and the Olympic Mountains.
Massing and fenestration are informed by the heavy volume of train activity to the east. The linear scheme allows for the east wall to act as a barrier to insulate both the interior of the house and the west yard from the railroad noise. While the west elevation is largely glazed to allow access to the water view and the view of the mountains, the east wall has few openings to maintain the solidity necessary for sound protection.
Access to the house is along a board walk that is elevated over a sunken garden. This garden space and the accessible green roof were important to the clients desiring a transition to terra firma after residing on a boat for 14 years.
A minimal pallet of inexpensive finish materials was used to achieve an economy of scale and reduce transition details. For example; an inexpensive concrete fiber board was used for most exterior surfaces, accented by smaller area of cedar siding. Tight-knot rough cedar is selected rather than expensive clear cedar. This roughness is balanced with the smooth concrete fiber board to achieve both harmony and economy. Extensive glazing was desired on the west elevation. Rather than install an expensive curtain-wall system, less expensive aluminum nail-fin windows were ganged together and trimmed with aluminum break shapes to achieve a similar effect for a reduced cost.