Text description provided by the architects. Located on 30 acres of wooded waterfront property on Lopez Island, WA, this 1,300-square-foot vacation home sits in a meadow of native grasses on a high bluff overlooking Puget Sound. The design respects the existing site, where draught-tolerant indigenous grasses and plants merge with existing boulders and engage the house so it merges seamlessly with the landscape. Native fir, cedar, and madrona trees encircle the meadow, filtering the sunlight and creating a natural privacy screen.
The approach to the house is down a gravel path from the east. The sloping roof plane - as though emerging from the earth - rises unbroken between two small towers, which contain sleeping rooms. A shed roof covers the contiguous living, dining, and kitchen areas. A14-foot-tall wall of glass forms the western edge of the house, allowing uninterrupted views of the water and mountains. The roof cantilevers beyond the glass wall, evoking a sense of protection and blurring the distinction between interior and exterior. The roof plane floats above 360-degree clerestory windows, allowing natural light to enter the home. Countering the lightness of the roof structure, two thick masonry walls run the length of the home.
Construction grading was kept to a minimum by following the site’s natural contours. Materials and construction methods were chosen for simplicity, low maintenance, and energy conservation. Slab-on-grade construction was used for both living spaces and exterior terraces, allowing a seamless connection between interior and exterior. Corrugated metal siding and concrete block were chosen for their durability. Concrete also acts as a thermal mass, storing daytime heat and releasing it at night. Exterior-grade birch veneer plywood lines the interior and exterior of the metal-clad roof and reflects even more natural light into the home. The roof materials contrast with the weight of the concrete block, yet are nearly maintenance free.