A double-savings hillside house Essay

A double-savings hillside house A firm sense of architectural style need not be expensive, as thehouse on these two pages shows. Designed by Seattle architect RogerWilliams, the 2,100-square-foot dwelling cost less than $50 per squarefoot to build in 1983, and future savings of energy were planned in,too. The first cost cutter was choosing a method of siting that requiredminimal excavation. The concrete-slab foundation steps up the hillsidelot, creating a split-level first floor with a garage and utility roomunderneath. The house’s 2-by-6 frame is heavily insulated with R-19fiberglass between studs and R-30 in the roof. The walls were sheathedwith 1/2-inch plywood and wrapped in a breathable moisture barrier, thenclad with prepainted (beige) corrugated steel siding and roofing.

On the north and east sides, the lot was left wooded. At the southand west, trees were cleared to bring more solar energy in throughdouble-glazed windows along those walls. A forced-air furnace backs upthe solar gain and a fireplace in the living room and wood-burning stovein the family room for heating in really cold weather. Along the diningroom’s south wall (above), glass bifold doors open to an unheatedsun space, which has a glasspaneled overhead garage door for its outerwall. With the door raised, the sun space becomes an open-sided diningbalcony. Though the downstairs rooms share space through wall cutouts orglass doors, different parts of the house can be shut off and heatedindividually.

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High banks of windows in the 11-foot walls bring inplenty of light, enhanced by light paint colors that also contribute toa feeling of spaciousness. Photo: Tall, narrow house has deck bridging garage, balconyupstairs. Along house’s shady side, set-back entry createsillusion of depth. House exterior is corrugated steel Photo: Mirror-image plan of child’s bedroom means it can besplit between the skylights into two rooms as the family expands Photo: Main floor is on two levels, stepping up the lot from frontto back. The single-level second floor has sheltered roof deck offupstairs hall and balcony off child’s room Photo: Hint of wall curves between dining area and raised livingroom, giving the two spaces a sense of enclosure without boxing them in Photo: Wall cutouts allow sharing of light and volume; cook cankeep in touch with family room.

Light walls, floors add to openness Photo: Concrete-block half-wall in family room absorbs heat fromstove and from south-facing windows behind for release later


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