Diablo Magazine February 2014 : Page 83

diablo properties special advertising sec tion The resource for distinctive East Bay homes A greenpoint rAted House PhotograPhy by david Wakely content Provided by aia east bay

A Greenpoint Rated House

Astone’s throw from the garage birthplace of Silicon Valley, this 5,500-square-foot, three-level house pays tribute to the area’s pioneering spirit in bringing together environmental innovation and a sense of fun, with a modern twist on the historic fabric. The owners proposed ambitious, near net-zero goals, embracing the contractor’s principle of achieving these within 10 percent of the construction costs. Designed by Cathy Schwabe Architecture with a three-part focus on private, public, and family, the house more than doubled the Build It Green’s baseline point requirements and exceeded Title 24 by 43 percent.<br /> <br /> Cathy Schwabe, AIA, recalls, “The owners found me after visiting a house I had designed in 1999 while still at EHDD, seriously considered buying, but did not because they felt they needed more space for their frequent guests. They spoke about being drawn to both the architectural character of that house as well as to the owner’s ambitious environmental goals, which they hoped to incorporate in their house as well. We talked about the collaborative design process and how important it was to build a team early on that could work in an integrated manner. They were excited about this idea and agreed that when the time was right, we would bring a landscape architect, interior designer, and other team members on board. One could not ask for a better way to begin a project, and since then, it has served as a wonderful example about the clear benefits of this design approach.”<br /> <br /> Set behind a screen of existing trees, the house presents as two wood-sided wings, each capped with a broad hip roof, flanking a central glazed entry/stair element. The L-shaped building frames an open rear garden with a dedicated Lawn area and otherwise edible, native, or drought-tolerant landscape.<br /> <br /> Two lots, both of which included large mature trees, were merged into a single southwest-facing parcel. A challenge from the outset was how to address the break in the street pattern that would result from the decision to site the main part of the house across both lots. This led to the decision to break the house into smaller forms, the larger of which clearly has traditional origins, and to further delineate the elements with several patterns of wood siding, which were kept natural. The proportions and breakup of the large black Multi-Lite aluminum openings with their articulated wood trim, as with other details in this house, echo, with a riff, the pattern, scale, and spirit of the neighborhood and local vernacular.<br /> <br /> A garden at every level, ample day lighting, and a shared commitment to sustainability were only some of the elements explored collaboratively during the integrated team process with Arterra Landscape Architects; John Lum Architecture, interior designer; Drew Maran Construction; and other key project consultants.The team approach, fully supported by the client, permitted a level of innovation and a deeper interweaving and exploration of design ideas than the more frequent residential model, where consultants are brought in late in the process.<br /> <br /> The overarching goal was to create an indoor/outdoor house that was modern but sought also to be a good neighbor. “The house is respectful of context but clearly of this time,” says Schwabe, “with a design, details, materials, systems, and methods of construction that link the constructability and durability of earlier building eras with scientific inquiry and, I believe, the mandate of our time: that a decision made on one site, on a single project, affects us all.”<br /> <br /> AIA East Bay is an architectural community spanning the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Napa, and Solano. Our many programs include education for architects and outreach to the community on vital topics, such as sustainable design, earthquake safety, and architect-related issues that focus on how the Bay Area community benefits from well-informed design and development. Www.aiaeb.org

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