Straddling freshwater wetlands and a tidal estuary just six feet above sea level, this house’s site demands extraordinary sensitivity to environmental concerns. Local zoning restricts the structure’s maximum coverage and proximity to wetlands areas, while Fema requirements set the first-floor structure above the base flood elevation. The house’s basic massing is therefore predetermined, limited to a one-story, 1,900 square foot design, raised eight feet above the ground. The spaces within this envelope are arranged, articulated, and fenestrated based on an innovative structural system that infuses the house’s inner areas with light and circulating air. Whereas most waterfront construction uses pilings to establish an artificial ground plane upon which a conventional house is built, in this project these structural members are integral: 16 exposed, glue-laminated piles stake out the enclosing walls for each of the three bedrooms and extend continuously from the ground through the roof.
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