Contributing Monkie G Monkie
Published on August 17, 2009
A beautiful Oregon house by Architect Paul McKean
Article by Paul McKean
The Neal Creek residence treads lightly upon its surroundings, maximizing valley and water views with minimal impact to the natural environment. The owners – windsurfing and snowboarding enthusiasts – were interested in a modest weekend retreat that would be highly efficient and ecologically minded. Their wooded two-acre parcel of land presented many unique challenges including wetlands, creek protection setbacks, and floodplain restrictions.
The design solution for the two-bedroom house addresses these issues by elevating the habitable space one full floor above grade. Views to the creek are enhanced from this position and the living spaces float within the tree tops. Lifting the main space protects the house from potential flooding and brush fire damage while making way for a covered outdoor patio and much needed gear storage below. At the uppermost level, the roof has been sized and detailed to allow for a future planted roof that will replace the landscape lost to the building footprint and reduce heat gain to the interior spaces.
Material selections have been made that include mostly local, renewable, recyclable and natural building products. Renewable materials include west coast cedar siding and wood framing, cabinetry and an FSC certified wood floor with a vegetable wax finish. Natural wool and rubber carpet tiles in the bedrooms can be easily replaced if damaged. The TPO roof can be recycled after its long life, protected by the planted eco roof. All interior finishes are no VOC applications. A Solatube skylight provides natural daylight into bathroom. High efficiency windows and wood screens are placed to maximize daylight and views, as well as protect against summer heat gains
System selections have been made that are energy efficient, durable and healthy to its occupants. A rainscreen wall system will safeguard the wall assembly from moisture intrusion and subsequent mold problems, as well as guarantee a longer life for the cedar siding. Dual flush toilets and low flow fixtures reduce domestic water consumption. An Advantex, dual stage septic system protects creekside soil quality and provides digital, off site monitoring of waste water quality.
The project was completed after 11 months of construction, on budget.
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