NW Modern jewel overlooking Columbia River provides gracious aging-in-place living

We teamed up with Scott Edwards Architecture to build this sustainable, single-level beauty near Vancouver airport.

Vancourver Airport homeThe new home, overlooking the Columbia River in Vancouver, is a 2,000 SF, one-bedroom project created in the northwest modernist tradition of Belluschi and Storrs.  Designed by Rick Berry of Scott Edwards Architecture and built by the craftspeople at Hammer & Hand, the structure features a clean contemporary sensibility, a sensitive response to its Pacific NW context, a full complement of sustainable features, and a compelling intergenerational narrative.

Three themes make up the project’s story:

1. Simple, Modern, Aging-In-Place
The project is a manifestation of the retired clients’ connection to the land and to family.  The couple, now in their 70s, has lived on the site for 40 years, carefully saving for and planning an intergenerational family compound on this beautiful piece of Columbia River property.  Future homes for their children and grandchildren are planned for adjacent lots that the family has acquired over the years.  For their new home (which replaces the old structure), the couple has emphasized simplicity and modernity, asking the architects to create a single-level, one-bedroom home that facilitates aging-in-place and allows the couple to live independently, but surrounded by family.

2. Blame It On The Rain
The design for the home is all about the Northwest’s prodigious rain:

  • Form: the home’s central design gesture is the “big cover” to protect occupants from the rain: its roof.  The roof is a bold cantilevered form with a 9′ overhang that creates a sheltered outdoor space year-round and shades the windows during the summer months.  These generous floor-to-ceiling windows are a key response to the gray that comes with the rain.
  • Siting and Orientation: the Columbia River is a majestic landscape feature created by the rain, and the home is carefully sited and designed to take full advantage of its impressive views.
  • Materiality: the rain nourishes the Pacific NW’s forests, which in turn provided the timber for the home.  All wood and concrete for the project was locally-sourced.

3. A Legacy of Sustainability
We often think of young hipsters when we think of modernist sustainable construction.  But green design and lifestyle make perfect sense for older generations that want to pass on a legacy to younger generations.  The green building elements at work in the project include passive solar design, high-efficiency windows, advanced framing and insulation, heat recovery ventilation and green appliances and fixtures, and much more

Ultimately, though, the project speaks for itself through photography: simple, bold, site-specific and eminently livable.  (Full gallery of photos.)

-Zack

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