The Logic of Elevation Design


[All images by BUILD LLC] Perched at the top of a hill in Bellevue, Washington, BUILD’s most recently completed project, the Pham Residence, commands sweeping views on all sides. Lake Washington, downtown Seattle, and the Olympic Mountain range are prominent to the west, while downtown Bellevue and the Cascade Mountain range are revealed to the east. Needless to say, the striking views are an important element to the design of the home, both inside and out. Along with capturing key sightlines to the mountains and cities beyond, there is also the need for screening from the street and shade from the sun. Subsequently, there is a delicate dance performed by the architecture at the east façade of the residence, where desire for light and view are balanced with the need for privacy and protection. While the envelope of the project is designed as a three-dimensional element, today’s post will primarily
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The Easter Eggs of Architecture


[All images by BUILD LLC]

Last fall we wrapped up the Case Study House 2016, and its completion has been an excellent opportunity to test out our architectural hypotheses on the next evolution of BUILD-developed projects. There were several design concepts we’ve had our eye on with the CSH2016, and today’s post covers what we like to refer to as the architectural Easter egg — an unexpected design surprise to be stumbled upon. Because the project is a private residence, we wanted to build in a pleasant architectural moment to be discovered from the well-traveled sidewalk out front.

The structure was designed with a rational stack of three single-run stairways from the ground floor to the roof terrace. The stair runs are indicated with a recessed channel at the envelope of the house. This channel incorporates a vertical column of glass and aluminum rainscreen panels to match the clear

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Case Study House 2016 Interiors


[All images by BUILD LLC] BUILD completed the Case Study House 2016 in Seattle last fall and we’ve had several months now to settle in and kick the tires on the third dwelling of our CSH series. With each Case Study House we continue fine-tuning the design and honing the construction process, creating an effective learning curve for the series, and better informing our client-based projects in the office. Today’s post reviews the inner workings of the project while calling out the materials and specifications of the interiors package. One of the primary ordering mechanisms of the CSH2016 is the inverted floor plan, which we continue to develop in our projects. This places the common areas (living, dining, kitchen) on the top floor where they can best take advantage of natural light and territorial views. Special attention to the structural framing of the roof allows these spaces to open
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Three Structures, Four Roof Types


[Images by BUILD LLC] There are a number of different architectural strategies quietly at work on the Magnolia House + Guesthouse. The main house is designed to stay low to the ground, accentuating the long horizontal lines of the architecture and creating dramatic cantilevers where the grade drops off. Because the Guesthouse sits further up the hill on a steady slope, its pavilion-like design becomes the focal point of the interior court. A third structure, the less obvious hot tub shelter, is designed to blend in with the backdrop and open to the view. These three structures include four different roof assemblies, and while all of them are designed to appear as flat roofs, none of them are truly flat. Today’s post takes a closer look at the technical assemblies, some of the structural engineering, and the aesthetic considerations of these four roof types. GUESTHOUSE
We’ll start with the
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How Much Energy is Saved by Reusing a Foundation?


[All images by BUILD LLC] As a design-build firm that cares deeply about the environment, we’re advocates of sustainability methods that have an honest and measurable impact. In our experience, these methods aren’t necessarily the heavily marketed gadgets or the sensational design concepts. More often than not, they’re quiet and practical techniques that disappear into a finished product. We refer to these less glamorized techniques as the down and dirty sustainability methods. One of the heavy lifters of this category is maintaining the existing concrete foundation of a project rather than demolishing it and constructing a new one. We’ve saved dozens of foundations over the course of our practice and most projects start out with a phase of evaluating an existing structure to determine how much can be saved. Reusing an existing foundation is high on our list of sustainable practices for a number of reasons, one of which is
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