Situated in the Issaquah Highlands just east of Seattle, zHome is envisioned as a ten unit, net zero energy and net zero carbon town home community. The 0.4-acre site is part of a larger parcel located at the entrance to the Highlands neighborhood. The larger parcel was planned as a combined project including the zHome site along with a mixed-use project that is being constructed by the YWCA.
An ambitious set of project benchmarks were established that included energy goals as well as water, material, site use, unit size limitations and target sale price goals. A Technical Advisory Committee was formed by the City of Issaquah, a partner in the project, that would assist the owner and the design team during the design process.
Our design solution for zHome is to elevate the role of shared spaces by orienting all of the units around a common courtyard. This south-facing courtyard creates connections to High Street on the south, the YWCA plaza to the west, and 9th place to the east. Decks and porches on each dwelling create modulating spaces between the units and the courtyard. These function as extensions of the primary living spaces and are fitted with screening devices for sun and privacy control. Motor vehicles are relegated to a woonerf access along the north side of the site.
While the creation of a net zero project is a very exciting goal on it’s own, it is our hope that the zHome project will accomplish this objective while creating an environment where community resources and individual needs are carefully balanced. The project is currently under construction with expected completion in the summer of 2011.