Let's Talk Mini [houses]

 

Architecture is complicated. One would think that you could simply dream up some crazy design and plop it on a land, but often times that is not the case. Designs are driven by so many elements - the land, the codes, the weather, etc. But isn't that what makes the 'problem' so fun to solve? 

Jim's initial notebook sketches. From the beginning, we knew we  would need to bury the house into the ground in order to achieve multiple floors with the city's height restriction. 

Jim's initial notebook sketches. From the beginning, we knew we  would need to bury the house into the ground in order to achieve multiple floors with the city's height restriction. 

One of our recent projects came with a very unique 'problem'...... a plot of land that is only 25' wide. You might be thinking, "well, 25' is still pretty wide!", and that is very true. Unfortunately, there are city codes (laws) in place that turn that 25' into 15' wide build-able area. A 15' wide space is not very large to fit all of the spaces of a modern day home, especially if you want to squeeze in three bedrooms! Adjusting the plans to have one continuous path of circulation on the eastern side of the house allowed more space for bedrooms, while also bringing lots of daylight into the hallways. 

North and South elevations showing 'pop-out' boxes that were added to maximize square footage on the small lot. We really took advantage of every bit of city code to make the most of the land! 

North and South elevations showing 'pop-out' boxes that were added to maximize square footage on the small lot. We really took advantage of every bit of city code to make the most of the land! 

On top of the minimal width of the land, there was also a very short height restriction on the plot - just 18'! We knew from the beginning we would need to bury the house in order to create multiple stories. We took this as yet another challenge. Why not make the most of the so-called 'basement'. As seen below, we decided to dig out the majority of the lower level to create a garden room. Although buried, the space feels light and gets plenty of sunshine - with the added bonus of lush landscape all around! 

East Elevation showing the buried house with the dug out land. Quite the opposite of a basement!

East Elevation showing the buried house with the dug out land. Quite the opposite of a basement!

I guess the moral of the story is - sometimes the most difficult of problems are the most fun to solve! Your land may direct the design, but there is always a solution! While these were early sketches, the design concepts stayed intact throughout the process. If you want, feel free to go drive by the house under construction! Here is the address:

4843 South Lucile Street, Seattle, WA 98118

Feel free to share your thoughts!

 

Environmentally Friendly Architecture

 
 
 

Look out! There is a new wave of environmentally friendly materials being produced!

As a team, we at Castanes are always on the lookout for sustainable and earth-friendly materials to be integrated into our projects. From geo-thermal heated flooring to solar paneled roofing, we enjoy the opportunity to introduce sustainable products and processes into the world of residential architecture! 

We recently came across a new material being used as flooring and walls- Cross Laminated Timber (CLT). To give you a brief understanding, the Engineered Wood Association defines CLT as, "a large-scale, prefabricated, solid engineered wood panel." So, what does that actually mean?? The timber is cut into 2x4s, laid together, and alternates directions each layer. See the image above to get a better picture!

What does all of this 'archi-talk' mean for you?? It means our taller mid-rise - and potentially even high-rise, buildings can be made using wood instead of concrete or steel! Crazy, right? Not only are the CLT panels as strong as concrete and steel, they are a renewable resource. The panels are also faster to construct and can be sourced locally, so all of you owners and developers out there can probably already here the 'cha-ching!' in your pockets. 

We'll be posting on a more regular basis, so feel free to give our blog a follow if you would like to stay up to date with us!

 

 

 

The New York Times Feature of The Sanctuary House

 

Castanes Architects has been featured in The New York Times for the second time!! The article covers one of our more recent projects, The Sanctuary House. This contemporary hillside residence embraces the unique bay of the Puget Sound with dynamic views and "inner" courtyards. 

 

Our Smith Tower Apartment goes viral!

 

Our Smith Tower Apartment was recently featured on Evening Magazine. NBC picked up the video and is broadcasting it nationally. It now has more than 3,000,000 views and is being called "the coolest apartment you've ever seen!". We certainly think it is! Before Petra and her kids moved in, the space was nothing but unused storage. In 2000, we fully transformed the tower into a magical place to experience urban living. Take a peek inside! 

VIDEO LINK: Click HERE

 

 

NOW OR NEVER.

 

On December 15th, 2015, Councilman Tom Rasmussen held a meeting at the Seattle city council chambers to discuss the concept of 'lidding' Interstate-5! A lid would reconnect the surrounding neighborhoods that were divided when the interstate was constructed, as well as create space for the community. the meeting covered the costs, resources, and overall possibilities. Emphasis was placed on the urgency of beginning this conversation now, while the Convention Center addition is going through its beginning design phases. Below is the concept vision of where the lid will be located. 

Image by The Northwest Urbanist at https://thenorthwesturbanist.com/2014/07/05/lets-bury-i-5-redux/

Image by The Northwest Urbanist at https://thenorthwesturbanist.com/2014/07/05/lets-bury-i-5-redux/

Please read Scott Bonjukian's, one of the speakers at today's meeting, article HERE for more information on the Lid concept, as well as examples from other cities.