SLA design team and the Ultimate A frame.Read More
A frame cabins in the west.Read More
Beautiful Catholic Church in MonterreyRead More
When asked to design a small ski cabin in the Methow Valley we chose to have a bit of fun with the existing irrigation canal on the property. It is conveniently controlled so there is no danger of flooding. The canal became the center of the cabin layout.
The garage and storage are located on one side of the canal. The living areas on the other. A terrace and small pond form the center.
The living area opens both to the pond area and to the view across the valley.
The roof system is made of 3 shallow sloping shed roofs that drop snow away from outdoor spaces. The structure is heafty enough to support snow on the roof for the winter. That winter snow helps insulate the roof. In the spring the roofs shed snow away from the building.
Over the last decade we have had the challenge to design modern yet modest, cost-effective homes for our clients. This led us to explore in more detail the various shapes and construction techniques to reduce cost and at the same time retain design delight and a Pacific Northwest modern style. What came of that research was a linear shed roof typology.
Some examples of this construction method is shown in the following images.
Refined over several iterations, it was most recently used on our Anacortes Project . We stick to standard carpentry and a simple framing layouts to keep it cost effective while still providing a modern element. The roof needed to work with standard insulation and roofing materials, but at the same time have some delight and that PNW feel.
By laying out the homes in a linear fashion, we could bring in more light to the individual rooms. The floor and roof framing are simple single span affairs with repeated layout. Setting glulam beams along the parallel walls allowed for an expression of the structure and carried out the overhangs we needed. We are able to single span the building with standard framing, then roof and insulate. With a shallow pitch we could use standard shingles. The higher sidewall allowed for accessory building spaces to be attached and still have light penetrating. The high side of the roof opened up to capture uphill light for the home, while the low side frames the views.
In the end, the modest budget buildings of the last decade have created for us and our clients an aesthetic that we have used successfully to produce dynamic, modern homes at a modest cost.
Shown here is an accessory dwelling unit for a lot in north Seattle. In repurposing an existing back yard garage slab, we are able to reduce construction cost. An open and airy living space is organized around a large and tall east facing window which opens out onto the lawn. The result is an airy, open and delightful Accessory Dwelling Unit.
We have been looking for new tile selections for various projects. These from Surface Art in Seattle and Pental caught our eye. The tile manufacturers are creating some wonderful new products. The patterns are great, the colors are sophisticated and they come in very large format.
Some, like the WOW tile from Pental are show stoppers. We are excited to be using these in our projects.
We will post photos of the finished installations when they are done!
A brief discussion of our design process on our Anacortes HouseRead More
My wife and I ran across some beautifully proportioned homes in Missoula, Montana recently. They were such a pleasure to see and made our walk more rewarding. The architects and builders of these homes spent extra effort making sure everything looked just right. Proportioning the walls to the windows to the doors to the roof is a process of refinement. And these were well refined!
The current owners have kept them looking beautiful. Their landscaping sets them off beautifully.
It is a delight to see some of these wonderful places when out for a walk. Here is hoping for great architecture everywhere!
Building exteriors are important not only to you personally but for the larger community. Some consistency in building colors makes for a more cohesive place. Santorini is a beautiful town marked by its whitewashed buildings. The common use of the whitewash helps create cohesiveness as well as keeping the buildings cooler.
In Paris there is a sense of consistency with the warm ochre of the buildings along the street. The color makes the place more uniform and cohesive.
Here in the northwest we often have a backdrop of dark forest. We have become advocates for somewhat darker colors for buildings to help blend with the forest backdrop especially if the building is around a treed area.
When selecting colors, we try to work with what colors are nearby.
Here we are checking colors against the existing shore pine bark. There were several on the site. The warmer color of the beach pebbles shifted the palate a little.
Applying large swaths of several colors and comparing them to the value of the opposite shore convinced us to darken the building color.
Here the building blends well with the surrounding landscape.
The design for this retreat in the desert country of Eastern Washington was formed to compliment the natural setting. Large deep set windows between thick corners open up to the spectacular scenery while being shielded from the hot sun.
The retreats spaces are arranged to easily flow together and open out to the landscape and views. Private spaces, bathrooms & closets, occupy the thick protective corners.
The outdoor covered porch is shielded from the hot sun by thick sidewalls. Heavy beetle kill pine planks are layered up to make a thick fire resistant siding.
The shadier side of the building is more open to the landscape. The roof is shaped to collect rainwater to a single point and funnel that to a cistern.
Thick beetle kill pine walls are carried inside the retreat to give it a modern camp like feel.
As the roof projects up and out the views become larger and more dramatic.
The large banks of floor to ceiling glass with the associated terraces project rooms into the landscape making the modern camp feel.
The result is a dramatically open, modern, camp like retreat in tune with the surrounding environment.
General sketching is a great tool for an architect. Also, more detailed sketching becomes a wonderful tool to help move projects along. Every custom building requires attention to how pieces come together and communicating how they work can be facilitated with sketches.
There are often questions about exactly how pieces of trim or material interactions should work. Shown here are examples of sketch work we use to communicate specific details. The color helps the sketches read easily for busy construction crews.
Some more complex issues can be worked out in sketch form so the contractor on site and we, the architects, can discuss various methods to achieve a pleasant result.
Changes of window manufacturers or flooring materials, etc. can lead to rethinking of details. These changes can be communicated quickly with all the different members using colored sketches.
Design is also helped with sketch details. In working out a door combined with a grill and insect netting for a home in Bangalore, several options were looked at quickly. Above is a security grill with a two step foot bolt operation fabricated out of plain steel.
Even such mundane items as a closet build out, shelves, rods, double rods, can be communicated quickly to cabinet makers and owners.
Location of paint breaks in a complex interior are made clear with a quick sketch. This eliminates hours of arm waving!
We enjoy making sure the contractors on projects are able to keep moving. Sketching details and desires helps make that happen.