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?
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.
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!
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!