Here skin, structure and space are formed simultaneously.
Built from structural and zoning constraints, a new construction is placed on top of existing foundations and is limited to maximum allowable height. As such, the design grew out of the foundation’s asymmetrical cruciform geometry where each structural bay of the cruciform created a “house of cards”.
The independent bays were prefabricated from CLT (cross laminated timber) panels and bridged together on site via the final roof formation. The complex CLT geometry and subsequent fabrication is unique and was assembled on site within a week. The project’s fusing of structure and volume minimizes additional interior finishes. In the living area, four CLT floor panels are exposed in the ceiling; this pure structural expression alternates between the gypsum board panels of the suspended ceiling. The CLT panels are exposed in the pitched upstairs bedroom ceilings as well as in the ceiling of the central top floor hall, thus showing the full extent of the triangular structural bays.
The project envelope is built as a timber rain-screen made of chemically seasoned Douglas-fir battens. Considered a facade element due to the steep pitch, the roof is also built from the same timber rain-screen and construction technique. In order to streamline construction and avoid visible screws or nails in the timber battens, the battens were prefabricated as assemblies prior to being brought on site. The project details consider the larger impression of the project as an abstract volumetry, for example, all gutters and drainage elements are concealed behind the rainscreen with minimal impact on the exterior surface.
Interior elements such as the central staircase highlight the opportunity that the column free prefabricated CLT structure allows, visually floating in the space; suspended off a wood floor grid that spans between the CLT bays. Integrated into the house is a Type D central ventilation system with heat recovery as well as rain water collection and re-use.
Exterior pedestrian and car access is through discrete concrete retaining walls that carve out of the restored dune landscape.
The geometry of the house is reminiscent of historical beach house architecture in the area, characterized by steep roof angles. This, and the restrictions of the existing foundation, steered both the structural and architectural logic of the project.