Located in Orcas Island, Washington, the 3,000 square foot Suncrest Residence sits among trees, rocks, ponds, and bald eagle nests. Heliotrope Architects designed this new residence located on a pristine 26 acre site comprised of a mature Douglas fir and pacific madrone forest, with occasional rocky clearings and several small ponds. The site is ecologically sensitive, with bald eagle nests and trees prone to blight if disturbed. Further, soil coverage is minimal over the native basalt; therefore stormwater management is a serious concern. Our clients desired a work of architecture that took into consideration these constraints and minimized site impacts while creating a work of architecture that utilized their favorite materials (wood and concrete) and connected them intimately with the land and the view.
Our design solution situates the home where the forest gives way to a large rocky clearing with views to the sea. The structure is wrapped around a prominent outcropping of rock and carefully situated to require a minimum of tree removal. Strict site access protocols were put in place for the duration of construction in order to minimize site disturbance, and the landscape has been carefully restored.
The long, narrow footprint of the home allows every room a view of the sea while also retaining a strong connection to the surrounding forest. The material palette was chosen to harmonize with the colors and textures of the natural surroundings; primary materials consist of wood from the forest (Douglas fir and madrone), concrete, zinc, steel and glass. This palette has a strong dialogue with the art collection featured throughout the home, most of which is the work of the wife.
Photos: Sean Airhart and Ben Benschnieder