This four-bedroom residence, situated high on a plateau in the arid landscape of eastern Washington, offers sweeping views across the agricultural valley to the Cascade Mountains and provides a dramatic backdrop to the apple orchards below. The clients wanted a home that, while distinctly modern, drew inspiration from the century-old, stone-clad gabled farmhouses in the area.
The design takes its formal language from homes of the past and strips it down to its essentials. Extraneous details such as eaves, gutters, and other embellishments are omitted, yielding a simplified, spare aesthetic. The 5,857-square-foot composition is bookended by two tall stone chimneys, while a stone and steel trellis runs north to south in front of the principal living areas, functioning as a brise soleil to filter the intense western sun. A second trellis across the west façade shields the house from the intense, late afternoon sun.
A 15-foot-diameter, 18-foot-tall, glass-topped circular tower provides a dramatic point of entry. Generous glazing provides light-filled interiors. Primary living spaces flank the entry, with the kitchen and family room to the south, and the more formal living room to the north; their twenty-foot-tall ceilings provide drama and create a sense of spaciousness. Outside, these primary living spaces are connected by a trellis-covered terrace, creating an elegant inside-outside functionality during temperate months. Frameless, glazed corner windows expand views of mountains to the west. The master-bedroom suite is located in a separate pavilion connected to the main house by a glazed passageway. The bedroom is angled to take advantage of distant views to a tree-lined creek bed, while the light-filled master bath provides intimate, private garden views.
Exposed, board-formed concrete walls extend from the Selah Residence and cut into the landscape in a stair-stepping pattern, carving out a place for the swimming pool and terrace. A north-south stone wall at the western perimeter of the swimming pool offers protection from brisk, seasonal winds. Large wooden doors can be opened on calm days. A vertical slot in the wall in line with the center of the pool allows swimmers to approach and peer through to see the mountains in the distance. These strategic openings provide focused views of the agrarian landscape and the mountains beyond.
This residence’s occupancy program has been fragmented into four pavilions, according to an organic plan, freeing a central space that looks completely outward. A little like the “heart of a village”, this space links the other building bodies, geometrically distinct from each other.
The Formentera house focuses on the duality between the telluric and the tectonic. The heavy and the light. The earth and the air. The handcrafted and the technological. Compression effort and traction resistance.
Morgana House is somewhere else. Surrounded by neighboring homes dating from the late nineteenth century, the building is like an abstract volumetric study for a potential building and seems to have fallen out of context.
Built on a hillside, this Brutalist-style house intentionally elevates the living space to provide privacy while offering a comfortable outdoor activity space for families. An undulating wall running through the building defines the exterior and interior, separating the public space from the private.
Conceptually, the A&M Houses have been an experiment in drawing a relationship and balance between a reduced footprint, comfortable living and maximised amenity. Inhabitants of this narrow beach house are encouraged to modify and adapt spaces to facilitate maximum amenity in both an environmental and social sense.
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