Project: Trollhus House, Alpine Chalet
Architect: Mork-Ulnes Architects
Team: Greg Ladigin, Anatoly Starr, Lexie Mork Ulnes, Casper Mork Ulnes, Kyle Anderson
Location: Norden, California, USA
Photography: Bruce Damonte
Designed by Mork-Ulnes Architects, Trollhus House is a 3,300-square-foot single-family residence in Norden, California driven both by the extreme environmental conditions found at a 6,800 foot elevation and a California sensibility of generous indoor-outdoor living. The essential diagram is straightforward: take the alpine chalet building type and lift it onto a concrete plinth to protect it from the snow. Located at an elevation of 6,800 feet, the building needs to withstand extreme snowfall that can exceed 800 inches. The residence’s positioning on-site, however, is more nuanced. Influenced by prevailing wind-drift direction and other climatic factors, the orientation shields the building from the street and directs views to a private stream and forest beyond.
Living spaces are arranged along the open, south-facing facade to maximize solar exposure. The shaded northern face contains utility rooms where small punched windows draw in indirect northern light but minimize heat loss. Tar-treated wood siding recedes among the tree trunks of this wooded site, and at dusk the interior finished with minimally treated fir glows warm through the windows.
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