Cantilever House / Anderson Anderson Architecture


Architects: Anderson Anderson Architecture
Location: Granite Falls, Washington,
Project Area: 2,800 sq ft
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Anderson Anderson Architecture

This prototype is built near Granite Falls, Washington, in the Cascade Mountains about 50 miles north east of Seattle. A second prototype is in the planning stages for an urban site in San Diego. This house is part of a series of projects that explore the opportunities for using prefabrication techniques and new building construction methods and materials to build low cost, high quality, site-adaptable and program-adaptable manufactured buildings.

exploded axo

Although the building site for this prototype has quite unrestrictive zoning constraints, the challenging topography and geotechnical conditions play a strong role in defining the overall design strategy for this project and as a prototype for difficult hillside sites. The small ground floor building footprint/foundation reduces the cost of this expensive area of the house, and allows the points of attachment to adapt to varying slope and soil conditions with minimal disruption of the natural topography.

© Anderson Anderson Architecture
© Anderson Anderson Architecture

The building system is a marriage of two common, standardized, mass-produced building elements – a prefabricated steel structural frame (of the type commonly manufactured for light-weight commercial structures), and a structural insulated panel system (SIPS) that provides all non-glazed building envelope areas. Significant economies are achieved by using the same low-labor structural panels for walls, floors and roof. The system is designed around a small number of interchangeable, rearrangeable assemblies for efficiencies of time and cost, and to minimize the environmental impacts of on-site construction.

© Anderson Anderson Architecture

Although the materials and methods of construction are chosen for efficiency and affordability, the underlying design principles guiding the development of the system have the larger goals of producing affordable, high quality buildings that offer variety, adaptability, convertibility, strength, simplicity, spatial richness, and optimized access to views and light.

Cite: "Cantilever House / Anderson Anderson Architecture" 20 Apr 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 24 May 2015. <>
  • pathos

    This structure leaves me with a cold, soulless feeling, absent of emotion or spirit of place. I would like to see much more cantilever occurring, along with a green roof (or at least a roof terrace) and a more natural color to the envelope. I understand that it’s attempt is to be rational and precisely engineered, but its contrast to the natural environment creates an unsettling tension. I would be curious to see some interior shots.

  • blackstone

    nice idea, clumsy execution.

  • roberto

    cantilever fetish continues unabated! perhaps this example would be more successful w/minimalist skin?

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  • up_today_arch

    cantilever is allways intrigue… To stay suspended is not in human nature. Balance between hidden stability and stabilless look is most interesting piece of masterpiece. I try do same in my projects.

  • Nicholas Patten

    I'd Live Here: Cantilever House.

  • farflung

    Love their book – Prefab Prototypes – in fact i ordered it for my university’s library.

  • joe b

    what is the point of the dramatic cantilever design if you are only 6-10 feet off the ground?

  • Karl

    I’m curious to see how efficient that house is with all the steel and vast amounts of windows. It also seems like it would be helpful to have the outdoor shower away from the prevailing winds, and maybe closer to the upcoming outdoor pool? I do like the modern appeal, though. It’s always going to come down to personal taste so good part on your efforts in keeping generic at least