March 28, 2010

Adaptive re-use in house design DvH2010 04

New buildings aren't always entirely new. A desire to protect the environment and to preserve historic architecture is inspiring architects to re-purpose, or re-use, older structures.

Trend-setting houses can be constructed from the shell of an outdated factory, an empty warehouse, or an abandoned church.

This lovely old house, formerly a house of meditation and worship, was converted into a private retreat.
It has wonderful architectural character, beautiful vaulted ceilings, and views of the Pacific Ocean and the hillsides.

We have recycled the original house (saved it so the materials would not go into a landfill). Saved all mature trees to provide much needed shade in the summer. We did rainwater irrigation (the gutters and drain spouts are directed to the landscaping, cutting down on the need to irrigate the drought tolerant natural landscaping). No AC (strategically placed windows encourage excellent cross ventilation). Fixtures, fittings, floors, tiles, spiral staircase are from architectural salvage and demolition sites. Low-E coated windows with low-emittance coating will block heat and UV rays from entering the house. Low-Flush toilets, Low-flow showerheads cut down by as much as 50% usage, and all Energy Star appliances add additional savings. All paints and finishes have low levels of toxic volatile organic compounds.

March 12, 2010

DvH2010 01 Kalihiwai Bay, Kauai, Hawai'i

DvH2010 01 Kalihiwai Bay, Kauai, Hawaii
residential green new built, main house, guest house,
and fiddling hut

Modulating a dialogue between Architecture and Nature.

Anyone who fears that a modulated design will produce a dull house with the appeal of a shrink-wrapped box should study building trends over the last decade. This 1,200-square-foot house (and 600 sq. ft. guesthouse) is designed to blend into the breathtaking enveloping natural landscape. The client, who loves the outdoors, wanted his home to reflect that. His primary goal was to have a design that will establish “a dialog between the built and the natural.” This will be achieved by organizing the house along mathematical guidelines that both anchor the house to the earth and create vistas between interior and exterior. All interior doors pocket into walls, creating a different configuration of privacy, light, and perception.This modulation of space is crucial when designing smaller dwellings.

But lest the house seem to grounded, we added a kinetic counterpoint: a butterfly roof. The two-winged roof has functions beyond the poetic. Tropical areas such as Hawaii have utilized the Butterfly roof to harvest precious rainwater since the middle of the last century, but these new ones are angled at the steeper 20 to 30 degree angles that are needed to maximize solar production.

With the steeper angle the tropical downpour is also more efficiently harvested in the roof’s center rain-funnel shape, where it is then filtered, stored and pressurized to the tap. The energy generated from solar panels on the roof, and hydraulic, gas and telecom services run in two vertical cores accessible from the bathrooms and kitchens for maintenance.

Passive cooling is achieved the old fashioned way with wide verandas, and a gallery open to the elements and sea breezes and to shelter the interior spaces from the tropical sun. The wooden skin that wraps the gallery filters the glare, providing intimacy in the bedrooms, shading the interior while framing the views outward. The roof shelters the house from the Sun while keeping it permeable to the cool winds to avoid the need for air-conditioning.  Self-sufficiency is what the client desired most.

March 8, 2010

DvH 2010 09 Ventura County California

The client grew up in the house in the '60s, and aside from a television set and a few new appliances, not a whole lot had changed since then. That's not to say the place had gone to seed-on the contrary, it was maintained quite well, and it still exuded much of its original charm, a welcome respite from a majority of the re-builds. All that was required was a small facelift. Voila!

Coastal dwellers love their beaches.

Watch the surfers when Rincon is breaking in the winter. Many people may live near a beach, but not many can claim that they actually live on the beach. Well, you can live on the beach just 20 minutes south of Santa Barbara.

While the house's interior wins with its charm, the exterior views are downright mesmerizing. Sit on the patio as the sun fades into the ocean and leaves behind a sky full of opaque oranges, and ravenous reds.

During the daytime, you can spend hours on the wooden beachside deck, and watch the seagulls hover in their endless search for scraps.
Walk along the beach and admire the variety of homes, especially the old and funky. To maximize the view, residents don't build big walls or plant dense trees and shrubs to maintain privacy. When the tide is low, small strips of beach emerge, and you can collect interesting rocks and shells brought in by the lazy shore break.