Project: Meadow View House
Architect: Jeff Adams – Atmosphere Design Build
Location: Rough and Ready, Northern California
Area: 1986 SF
Structural Engineer: Mark Jokerst, SE
Photo Credits: Kat Alves
Designed by Atmosphere Design Build architect Jeff Adams for himself and his family, this energy-efficient house balances steep, panoramic views of meadow and oak woodland to the east, north, and west with appropriate southern orientation for passive solar design and daylighting.
Located within a stunning creek watershed that cuts through the rolling hill topography of the lower Sierra Foothills, the compact design artfully merges the contemporary sensibilities of the architect/husband with the more traditional tastes of his wife (who grew up in a farmhouse in upstate New York). As a regionally appropriate departure point, the design adopts the rural, vernacular form of a two-story, gable-roofed barn. This basic typology is then strategically cut away to frame views and define recessed doorways. A porch and wood-framed trellis wrap around the house on three sides to provide functional outdoor space and create additional shading to windows and doors.
The material palette of the Meadow View House evokes a connection to nature: weathered steel, charred cedar siding, and smooth troweled stucco protect the exterior from climate and fire; oak flooring, soapstone countertops, distressed wood paneling, fired clay tile and earthen plaster provide warmth and intimacy on the interior.
The energy performance of the Meadow View House easily exceeds the Tier II baseline of California’s 2016 energy code (+30% above standard construction) by implementing the following tactics in the high performance building envelope: highest performance low-e glazing available combined with proper solar orientation; exterior rigid insulation to mitigate thermal bridging; advanced framing to minimize lumber and maximize insulation; ventilated attic with R-60 cellulose insulation; and a concrete slab for thermal mass, which is isolated from the walls and ground by an insulated perimeter. With these measures in place as well as rigorous air sealing at all building joints, the heating and cooling loads are greatly reduced allowing the entire home to be heated and cooled with two ductless mini-split heat pumps (one at each level). A balanced, heat-recovery ventilation system ensures constant fresh, filtered air throughout the home without any substantial heat loss. When installed, a photovoltaic solar array on a future carport will allow the project to achieve net-zero status.