This project was the first in which we used a new tool to speed the process of design - a design questionnaire. By the time you hire an architect, you've already been thinking for months (perhaps years!) about the kind of place you would like. This questionnaire is a means of conveying all that thinking and dreaming to us before we ever put pencil to paper.
Our clients built their modest log home on rural land near Cle Elum in the late '70s, and were looking to expand. They needed a garage, a workshop, a place to work on crafts, a place for guests to stay, somewhere for their growing kids to hang out - (something like The Teenager's House in Christopher Alexander's Pattern Language) - as well as a big room for the occasional folk dance and heritage rose-grower's club meeting. With the enthusiastically filled-out information from their questionnaire, we were able - on the first try - to propose a design they loved.
In the classic tradition of carriage houses, and inspired by a beautiful barn across the way, it consists of a garage and workshop on the main floor with accommodations above. The upper floor is one great room with a bed alcove and mezzanine loft. Stylized roses will adorn the mezzanine railing. The cupola is translucent, and will let light in during the day, and shine like a beacon across the fields at night. Outside, trellises will support more fragrant old roses. The roses and nearby orchard will be kept lush with water collected from the metal roof in large galvanized steel culverts at the back.
energy & resource conservation
The carriage house was designed to take advantage of "advanced framing." Studs are all two feet on center. Roof rafters, wall studs and floor joists all line up, so weight is transferred straight down to the foundation. Most windows are placed between studs, eliminating the need for headers and cripples. Plan dimensions were kept to increments of four feet to use the 4x8 sheets siding without waste. Advanced framing uses about 25% less wood than standard framing. Because there is less wood and therefore more insulation in the building envelope, it reduces energy consumption. Because fewer members are used, advanced framing also saves on the costs of labor and materials.
Principles of "source reduction" were applied, in this case to our client's first idea of the section of the building, to reduce use of materials (and reduce construction cost.)
Siding was 4x8 fiber-cement panels. (Recycled newsprint)
Fly ash (waste product) was added to the concrete for the slab.
Run-off from the roof will be collected in large galvanized culvert storage tanks, and used to water the roses.
A composting toilet and gray water collection system will be installed.
When the interior is fitted out, the usual healthier materials and finishes will be used - eg. low-toxic paint, natural linoleum flooring.
At the time this project was built lumber from sustainable sources was about 50% more expensive than lumber from standard clear-cut sources. This, combined with a limited budget, effectively nixed our and our client's desire to use lumber from well-managed forests.
Project Architect: Rob Harrison Structural Engineer: Richard Ballinger General Contractor:Hugh Fraser and the owners.