Site planning is designing the location and layout of a new home on the site. It is fundamental to what architects do. For a precious lot, one the owners have decided to spend their lives on, site planning is truly important.
An existing rock outcropping and water course were fundamental for the design of this home on Orcas island. The owners picnicked on the rock in nice weather while dreaming about their new home. We kept that idea and formed a terrace around the rock backed the living areas up to it. The top of the rock set the location and height of the living level of the home. After this was established other pieces fell into place. Bridging the water course to the bedrooms on the opposite side of the swale preserved the views to the water from the entry and the existing water course.
Other sites do not have these dramatic features, but still offer wonderful features or views to work with. A recent project on Lake Washington abutted a large grassy lawn on the water. The home was designed to allow easy connections to this wonderful feature. The main living levels as well as the lower recreation levels were designed to link seamlessly to the lawn.
Another property was high bank waterfront which limited the view to the water from and elevated platform. Raising the home up for a view was required, but having only a deck for outdoor space was not a pleasant way to make the most of the lot. The approach became to berm up ground to create elevated terraces around the home.
Creating a bridge heightened the experience of the land and the view under the home from the approach drive is now an added dramatic experience.
Even a flat site can be looked at to create a memorable home. This site was flat but large enough to create a great south lawn and interrelated gardens within the home's layout.
When planning for a new home, emphasizing the unique aspects of the site and creating an intimate relationship with the natural environments is elemental to making a beautiful home.