Well hello again!
After running through a few more schematic designs for the house since my last post many months ago, we’ve all settled on the final version and are about to submit the land use permit application. We need to get approval to build on the steep slope, critical area before we can proceed with permitting the house. We’ve gone through a pre-application process so we think the project will likely get its necessary green light. If all goes well, we’ll be breaking ground on the house in late spring or early summer.
The design has undergone some changes. With the help of our skilled civil engineers we designed a switchbacking driveway that utilizes the lot to the south, which is also owned by the client’s family. Since this driveway solution makes the south lot accessible for vehicles as well, we’re seeking the approval to build on the south lot so the owners have the option of building a second home on that lot in a couple years.
The house has slimmed down a floor, going from four levels to three and becoming longer and leaner, fitting better as it steps up the hillside. More, shallower steps also allowed us to keep retaining wall heights below ten feet tall and avoid using tiebacks with our shoring. Square footage has remained about the same, around 2500 SF.
Oh, and for those who are worried, it’s fastened to the hill much better than you might think.
Here are some renderings and drawings from the schematic stage:
In October w|a was asked to design a tenant improvement build out for the running store, Run26 in Mill Creek Town Center. There was only one catch – the permit had to be ready in about eight days! Cary Westerbeck called architect, Andrew Russin for assistance and they quickly collaborated to measure the new space, assess conditions and rapidly create some concepts and designs for the client. With only days to work, they quickly threw together a permit set of drawings and submitted the package in time.
Since the client was combining two spaces and bringing down part of the wall between them, the architects saw an opportunity to save money and create more interesting space. One side had a dropped ceiling at 10′ and the other an exposed ceiling at about 20′ high. We proposed to remove the lower half of the wall between the two spaces at the retail, front of house space, allowing for two ceiling heights and a more dynamic space. This also saved money since the HVAC and suspended ceiling could stay intact. We all called it a win-win.
The work also included designing two massage therapy rooms, dressing rooms, office and storage space towards the back of the spaces. The client requested a curved shoe wall and we saw that a curve could complement the Run26 logo. Along with grinding and polishing the concrete floor, we had the Run26 logo etched into the floor to echo the curve of the shoe wall.
The client will be phasing in more changes as budget and time allow. Run26 will be implementing a retail lighting plan designed by w|a, adding soffits and additional display lighting and installing custom banners to highlight Run26 sponsored runners and photos from community running races.
Cary visited the store recently and snapped a few shots as painting and other finish work was being wrapped up. Here are some photos of the concepts, process and almost-finished state.
Everybody loves a hand sketch, right?
Among the piles of trace paper, scratch paper sketches, scribbles and informal sketch studies on the Satterlee house, I scanned a few to post here and share a bit of my process. Some are hybrid computer massing studies with sketching over.
With such a steep site, and entry from the low side of the property, there were rich design challenges in brainstorming an efficient, economical and elegant way to place the house on the hill and get people into it. We also had other important considerations such as solar orientation, building massing, quantities of excavation and providing ample space to enjoy the outdoors on a level surface. Add to that the setback requirements and a requirement for two parking spaces on site and we had ample constraints in place. But constraints make for good architecture, though they cause much consternation and head scratching at times. All in a day’s work. Truth be told, all these challenges made it even more fun. You can do almost anything with a flat site, but a steep slope requires more thought and lends itself to more dynamic solutions.
So without further ado, a few process sketches:
The Satterlee project is a new custom home in Kenmore, Washington for a family of four, currently in schematic design. The site is a steeply sloping west facing hillside across the street from Lake Washington with a gorgeous and expansive view to the west and south. This active family asked westerbeck|architecture for a modest, energy efficient, dynamic and hard working home on a tight budget.
We love a challenge and believe constraints make for the best architecture, so w|a got to work designing a 2500 square foot home. The home has four levels, connected by a light and airy stair tower. The first level will be an unfinished space used as a photo studio, the second level a guest room and office space, the third level is the main living/dining/kitchen area and the fourth level holds three main bedrooms and two baths.
Due to the steep site and the high costs of excavation and concrete foundation work, we explored schemes that placed a compact concrete core into the hillside next to the required two parkings spaces where the bulk of the home would bear on the earth. The core is two stories high, getting the two upper floors high enough to nestle into the natural bowl in the hillside where foundation will be minimal to preserve the site topography and minimize site destruction and natural water flow. This solution saves both precious budget and the natural ecology of the site.
On a hillside site with little flat area the decks become the “yard” so we made sure there was a generous deck at the main floor that connected with the living, dining and kitchen areas. On a warm day all the sliding doors can be opened and the efficient interior spaces become effectively doubled in size when connected with the deck.
Keep an eye on the w|a blog for updates on this project as design moves forward.