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chuckanut ridge

Sustainable House Design Bow WA

3200 SF

The house is sited on a forested ridge overlooking the San Juan Islands. Accessed by a steep winding road up Chuckanut Mountain, the structure runs along the northwest edge of a small narrow plateau. Situating the built form along this edge allows for level outdoor space on a site mostly comprised of steep terrain.

A linear spine organizes the building, defining a progression of interior and exterior spaces that culminates in a panorama overlooking the San Juan Islands. Interior and exterior rooms are separated and defined by metal roofs and walls set on either side of the circulation spine. Water from these roofs is directed to the circulation spine and ultimately to large storage tanks where is it filtered for reuse. The remote site led to a desire for self-sustainability, including water collected from the roofs and power provided from photovoltaic panels set onto the steep topography.

The progression of varied rooms, the programmatic order and material selections were designed in response to the client’s desire for the house to reflect the marriage of their East Asian heritage: one being of Japanese descent the other of Chinese. The ability to accommodate their extended family – including an annual Chinese New Year party they host – was an underlying consideration. Large interior and exterior sliding doors open to significantly change the circulation through and experience of the individual spaces, allowing for either privacy or an integrated plan open to the outdoors.


Completed: 2009

Awards and Recognition:

Builder/Architect, March, 2010

2012 Residential Architect's Award for Architectural Detail

Category: Sustainable House Design Bow, WA