2013 Recipient | AIA Housing Awards

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Eagle Ridge | Notes of Interest

The artist-client for this house, located on Washington’s Orcas Island, requested an open, simple, low- maintenance design that emphasized and complemented nature and the forested landscape of its site. The hillside site has magnificent views to the west and is populated with madrone trees, firs, beech, thistle, moss, and rocks.

Each part of the house was designed to accommodate the inevitable bad hips, knees, and back worn out from a lifetime of moving rocks, dirt, and plants for the artist’s own work. The program consists of a combined kitchen-dining-living area, study, master suite, art studio, and storage area, with the flexibility to add bedrooms or an apartment. The project uses some of the client’s favorite materials: old wood recycled from a 100-year-old barn demolished in eastern Washington, rusty steel for the siding, and moss and rocks salvaged from the building site. Large doors slide away to open the house to the expansive views, creating a living room in the woods. The entry garden bisects the house, creating two zones and bringing the site into the house and the eye out to the view. The 800-square-foot art studio and storage areas have been left raw to facilitate converting them to additional bedrooms at a later date.

To meet the client’s requirement that the house be highly efficient, it is constructed of structural insulated panels (SIPS). This method allows for a faster construction time, less waste generation, tighter construction, and better insulation. All the windows and doors are designed to surpass energy code requirements, and all of the lighting is either LED or compact fluorescent to reduce energy consumption. The siting and design of the house maximize passive solar benefits to reduce the energy load.

Additional Credit

  • Contractor: Schuchart/Dow
  • Engineer: Perbix/Bykonen

Photo Credit

  • © Will Austin 

Eagle Ridge

Category One: One and Two Family Custom Residences

Jury Comments

This is one of the strongest projects we’ve seen. It uses common materials simply and is responsible to place and the client.

This is such a Zen house—it does so much with so little, and it responds to the client’s wishes.

2013 AIA Housing Awards Jury

  • Kathleen Dorgan, AIA, Chair
  • Dorgan Architecture & Planning
  • Storrs, Connecticut
  • John Isch, AIA
  • RWA Architects, Inc.
  • Cincinnati
  • R. Thomas Jones, AIA
  • California Polytechnic State University
  • San Luis Obispo, California
  • Stephen Sharpe, Hon. AIA
  • Austin, Texas
  • Charles L. Travis, AIA
  • The Housing Studio, P.A.
  • Charlotte

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