Water is a constant presence throughout this Washington Park Hilltop Residence by Stuart Silk Architects, set on a bluff in Seattle overlooking Lake Washington. Views of the vast lake, Mt. Rainier and North Cascades dictated the orientation and transparency of the elevation facing the water. A plan then evolved to integrate water features into the home, to be experienced from inside and out.
An unequal-sided “H” plan places the entry, living and dining areas in a central pavilion, while flanking wings contain the family’s private rooms. The passages to the wings are compressed between gently moving water courses inspired by the canals of Suzhou and Venice. These serve not only as ever-present reminders of the beauty of water, but also the nature of passage through life as one navigates across the home’s interior and exterior spaces. The alignment of the canals also focuses the building’s orientation toward the views.
The mood of the house is quietly contemporary. The clients sought a quality of architecture that would outlive passing trends. They were also vitally concerned with the home’s sustainability; the architects incorporated many options that contribute to the projects durability and efficiency. Some examples include a green roof, gray water collection system, and solar panels for water heating.
Though the building is geometrically simple, it offers a rich juxtaposition of solidity, transparency, and liquid movement.
Photos: Rob Perry Photography
Lake Washington Residence is a newly built two story single family home over an existing foundation by BAAN Design in the Mount Baker neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. The existing site is located on an upland waterfront lot near Genesee Park on Lake Washington Blvd S with expansive views to the east, over the lake. The foundation of the existing one story house is re-used in order to maintain and extend the non-conforming footprint and lot coverage. The geometry of the front facade is dictated primarily by the view potential offered by the site and the massing is stepped back at second level to maintain conformance to current zoning setback requirements.
The primary interior spaces are designed to relate specifically to the water views to the east and to the more intimate and enclosed privacy of the backyard.
The interior living space is comprised of 3,500 square feet.
While sitting in the rear yard, one can experience the lake views through the glazed doors and glass along the east and west sides of living areas. The roof structure is constructed of exposed double 2×6 rafters with T&G decking above, and the exterior is cladded in pre-stained, tight-knot cedar siding.
The windows and doors are thermally broken aluminum, with custom double hinged pivot wood doors located at the front entrance. The floors are polished gypcrete over an in-floor radiant heat system and the built-in cabinetry is dark stained, rift oak.
View of back patio into living room and lake beyond.
Photos: Ben Benschneider
Engawa House is a two story lakefront property that has been designed by Seattle-based studio Sullivan Conard Architects, situated in Seattle, Washington. Here is a description of the project from the architects: “The home can best be understood in its multiple contexts: lakefront site, Pacific Rim city, timber-industry clients open to materials that speak simply but poetically of shelter and home. At its heart is the “light core,” a vessel-like structure rising to a clerestory, illuminating the house and organizing its circulation patterns.”
Timber-framed in hemlock—a reference to the owners’ long involvement with Northwest woods—the light core acknowledges its source in Japanese architecture, also expressed in the structure’s horizontal banks of windows, screening devices of glass and lattice, and the engawa itself, a south-facing veranda edge between interior and garden.
Engawa House’s spare detailing allows materials to speak of themselves, of the art of construction, and of a creative process marked by owner, architect, and craftsmen finding stillness amid the complex demands of house design and construction.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Kuruma House project is a modern remodel by Olson Kundig Architects of an existing house in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. Bringing light into the 2,230 square foot, three bedroom, three bathroom home and creating a stronger connection to the outdoors were important aspects of the renovation. In addition to extensive skylights, the rear of the house was transformed with the addition of a 10’x10’ custom designed jalousie window, and large sliding and pivoting windows and doors.
The interior of the home was updated to provide a comfortable space to live and work. A simple, dark material palette provides a unified backdrop for elements that carry significant personal connection for the client. Many of the home’s furnishings were custom designed, including a rolling office “kuruma”—a modern interpretation of a traditional wheeled storage chest.
West Seattle Residence is a modern house comprised of concrete, glass, and steel, designed by Lawrence Architecture, situated in the West Seattle district of Seattle, Washington. The 3,800-square-foot house sits on top of a steep hill looking westward with dramatic views of Puget Sound. It’s essentially a loft-like glass curtain wall pavilion that sits on top of an opaque and rectilinear podium next to a similarly massed 925 square foot detached garage. A road runs along the rear of the house on its opaque east side, where the main entry is. Parallel to this road is a tall concrete wall up to twenty-four feet high that shields the house and a side patio for privacy. This wall then extends to the garage and living space unit next door where the client’s parents often stay when they’re visiting, blocking views into the main house’s master bedroom and keeping family at a comfortable distance. “They didn’t want to have to put up blinds,” Lawrence says.
The wall is also the organizing element for the circulation including the stairs with cantilevered steel treads. Supported on steel frames and triangular steel trusses, the roof swoops over the concrete wall capping the pavilion. Eight by sixteen foot sections of the curtain wall pivot for ventilation.
The house’s roof is its most engaging and formal feature. Lawrence describes the arcing shell as “springing over” the house from the rear privacy wall. The garage and loft apartment building has a similar curved roof. Both create a dynamic formal tension with the largely rectilinear buildings below.
An interior and exterior fireplace on the north side connects the house to its patio.
Several wood flourishes warm the inside and outside of the house. Douglas fir is used on the underside of the roof and on the ceiling of the kitchen. The opaque facades of the building are covered in metal panels. Inside, the floors are terrazzo and many of the walls are raw concrete. A steel slab floating stair adds more cool, industrial sophistication.
The house sits on a long, rectilinear podium that contains four bedrooms, a family room, bathrooms, and a media library, occupying the daylight basement level. Upstairs, the main level is an open plan, loft-like living room and kitchen, bathed in light and air through the curtain wall’s operable windows and steel structure. The top level of the house contains the master bedroom and bath. There is additional living space above the garage accessible via stair or future elevator.
The stair has demountable guardrails which are normally in place but were removed for the photographs.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Lake House Two is a stunning contemporary waterfront property that has been designed by McClellan Architects and is situated in Seattle, Washington. The home has been programmed as a primary residence, sited on a very steep waterfront lot, with drive access limited to the very top of the site. The client expressed a desire for exposed steel structure and to fully engage in the waterfront landscape. The home is conceived as a single living environment expressing the seeming dichotomy between interior and exterior living spaces pivoting around the central kitchen and hearth. Rather than “bring the outside in,” Lake House brings the inside out.
The dynamic tension between the crafted and the natural is evident throughout: the rhythmic structure of the stacked building masses is articulated by exposed steel beams and columns, repeated and transformed by trees ordering the outdoor living spaces.
The work of master craftsmen in stone, plaster and steel is essential to the natural, competent feeling of the home. A blackened-steel stairway with Scarpa-inspired details is placed against a venetian plaster feature wall. Powerful raking LED light fixtures illuminate the wall in the evening, looking like gold leaf.
An elevator unobtrusively integrated in the back of the home makes the Garage (with solar panels for the client’s electric car), Mother-in-Law apartment, and main living floors all accessible. A green roof provides landscape and view for the upper apartment.
Photos: Ben Benschneider
This Queen Anne mid-modern home has been transformed by design firm Coop 15 Architecture in Seattle, Washington. The northwest contemporary design was originally constructed by noted architect Paul Kirk. The owners Gavin & Jenny Kelly asked the architects to renovate and expand the house in 2008, they had two young children living in an 1,870 square foot, two-bedroom house, with very limited space for family activities. They extended and reordered the plan and form to create 2,400 square feet with a comfortable living/dining/kitchen area, open stair, and third bedroom plus children’s bath.
The power of the original design continues with walls that wrap over to create a roof. Original cedar-clad interior walls and ceiling were brightened with added glass and up to date lighting. The enlarged lower level also accommodated a media room and a spacious home office. Upstairs, the entry, and combined living/dining/kitchen area, were all expanded. The master bedroom and bath were reconfigured to create a little extra elbow room for 6’-7” Gavin, and the stair was completely changed to increase headroom.
A steel beam was placed where the existing home ended and the entire form was stretched an additional 15 feet.
The cedar ceilings and walls were restored and extended to accentuate the original concept.
The dining room window aligns with and continues a break in the rolled roof plane drawing the eye inside to the exterior.
Cost effective materials like laminate and quartz were used to create a durable and simple kitchen.
A massive 12 foot wide sliding door (coated with a layer of chalkboard paint) obscures the media room.
The shingle roofing material continues down the walls to create the appearance of a singular roof form.
Photos: Will Austin
Westlight House is a beautiful contemporary waterfront property located in Seattle, Washington, designed by McClellan Architects. The home features a neutral color palette with pops of color splashed throughout. Melded into the hillside, the residence seems to blend into its surroundings to create a natural and inviting living environment. Sliding glass doors in the living room brings in cool breezes from the water and opens the interiors up to the exterior. Large expanses of windows allows plenty of natural light to filter into the home. The outdoor deck features a built-in fireplace and plenty of seating to entertain family and guests and offers wonderful views of the water. The dining area also features a sliding glass door that opens out onto the deck to allow guests to filter out to outdoor seating after dinner.
Photos: Benjamin Benschneider
Truly a dream home, Lakeside Residence designed by Castanes Architects rests at the West shore of Lake Washington, enjoying views of the lake and growing skyline of Bellevue, Washington. The client originally wished to have an old Tudor remodeled, however, they ultimately decided to design and build a new modern home with some of the characteristics of the older Tudor. Antiques that the owners collected over time and actual pieces from the Tudor were incorporated into the new home, whose interiors were finished by NB Design Group. A wonderful blend of modern, traditional, and antique now fill this eclectic home. The new residence refocuses its attention to the lake and the beautifully landscaped gardens, with bi-folding doors, large windows, comfortable decks and a “crows nest” office at the 4th floor level. The house is heated with a sophisticated radiant hot water system that consumes less energy and provides a healthier environment for its owners. The copper shingles from the previous home have now become a part of the new roof.
Rain water is channeled through a perforated 6″ steel pipe to create a waterfall onto a trellis, then becomes a small creek along the garden, before it is collected in an underground water cistern for irrigation.
Water from roof is gathered by a through, and brought down in a 6″ pipe. It then falls into a trellis system.
The house opens up on East elevation to focus it’s attention to the beautifully landscaped gardens and stunning view of the lake and silhouette of City of Bellevue and the mountains from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Baker.
The translucent garage door lights up the driveway at night. On the street elevation, the proportions of the house is scaled down to bring it to a pedestrian level, while also creating a sense of privacy.
Custom made corten steel entry gate is laser cut to mimic the inlays in the walnut entry door.
Heavy steel wraps between two floors like a delicate lace ribbon.
Staircase Landing, is designed to be and intimate gathering spot. Raw steel bench and planter, and cast glass guardrail.
Milestone surround fireplace separates Living Room and Dining Room.
Media Room is separated from living with a linear window.
Bi-folding doors extend the dining room into the beautiful gardens and the lake.
Dining Room with stunning views of the lake.
Kitchen flow is designed to allow interaction between the cook and the guest, while separating the two with the island.
Tall ceiling and large east facing windows, bring colors from rising sun and breeze from the lake into the Master Suite, for a fresh morning!
The Master Bath is designed like a spa, with neutral colors, and filled with lots of natural daylight.
Family Room opens into the gardens with Nana doors. Vent free fireplace solves the problem of ugly side vent into the side yard.
Vintage bank safe door opens up for a look-out for the bistro table, inside the wine room.
Photos: Aaron Leitz
Selah Residence is located on a high plateau surrounded by orchards and farmlands in Selah, Washington designed by Stuart Silk Architects in collaboration with interior designer Jennifer Randall & Associates Design. Two intersecting diagonal axes were derived from the orientation of primary mountain views. A dramatic eighteen-foot, glass-covered concrete drum, located at the intersection of the axes fills the home with natural light. Stone clad gables stripped of all unnecessary detail enhance the drama of the gables and strengthen their rich association with nearby agrarian building forms. A stone wall shields the pool and cabana from prevailing summer winds while strategic openings focus views on the landscape and the mountains.
Winner of the 2008 Masonry Institute of Washington Honor Award for Excellence in Masonry Design, and was published in Trends Magazine, Winter 2007.
Photos: Courtesy of Stuart Silk Architects