In Seattle, a Modern Home That Looks Toward the Sky and the Water
Marianna Hidalgo-Soto is a Seattle-based writer and photographer who specializes in architecture, visual poetry, and the intersection of urbanism and visual art. She has published articles and essays in such magazines as Bon Appétit, Pacific Standard, and The Atlantic Monthly. Marianna received the Seattle Times’ award for Best of the Northwest’s Writing for Best Building in the Northwest and was the recipient of the 2009 National Association of Home Builders/National Association of Home Builders Foundation Award for Excellence in Architecture. She is currently working on her first book, The Architecture of the Impossible, a critical analysis of the role of the human experience in architecture, and is currently writing a book proposal on the history and contemporary practice of the Seattle School of architecture.
The Seattle home shown here, built for one of the city’s wealthiest families, is a masterful demonstration of a new design approach that blends the city’s landscape with its contemporary architecture.
The house was built by an American firm that specializes in designing and building on the site, but the design process, which began in 2007, was designed and driven by the project’s owner. The house was built without a traditional foundation, relying instead on steel, concrete, and a long deck that sits on a wooden platform of wooden planks. Like the house in the photo, the house is made of steel, concrete, and wood and sits on the ground, but its construction, which began in 2007, utilizes an unconventional approach to design: Rather than build the structure using traditional methods of construction using a foundation, the house was built on a concrete platform and is supported by a wooden platform that sits on steel. This approach creates a dynamic and highly adaptive construction system that is able to respond to the demands of its location and the forces of wind and water. In addition, the system of construction allows the house to blend into its environment, in much the way the house blends into its surroundings, which is why, in the Seattle home’s case, the wooden planks of the deck and the steel columns of the exterior support walls appear to be part of the house.
The design of the house, as it was developed over