Taking cues from its flat open surrounds, the EarthWall 2 residence is as much a nod to its plane-like site as a product of it. An unabashed groundscraper, the home’s sod-covered roofline enforces the horizontality of the site while deemphasizing the 6,000-square-foot volume. Composed of Ward + Blake Architect’s patented EarthWall post-tensioned steel rammed earth wall construction, the earthen walls literally rise from the soil that was used in their construction.
Transparency of design is achieved on multiple levels: Large glass elevations that open the structure to the outdoors are paired with continuous poured concrete floors that seamlessly flow from patio to interior, blurring the outside/inside distinction. An environmentally responsive design, the structure is oriented to maximize solar gain through its energy efficient windows and high-thermal mass walls.
The building’s passive solar design is coupled with other green energy features such as the ground source heat pump that carries water naturally kept at the earth’s temperature, requiring minimal heating and cooling for interior use. Sustainable building materials such as reclaimed douglas fir used for soffits and ceilings as well as reclaimed stone for architectural detailing further enforce the client’s desire to reduce the environmental impact of the building footprint.