Awards of Excellence 2004 – North Bend Residence

North Bend, Washington


Abundant in natural beauty, the site is located within a forest setting characteristic of the Pacific Northwest and is predominantly populated by ferns, vine maple and second growth hemlock and fir. With no commanding views, property setbacks, or extreme topography, there are no obvious features that could inform the siting of the dwelling. The property, however, does contain a number of massive, charred old growth stumps, remnants of a forest that has long ago been logged off, and a small ravine located near the east property line. Intuitively, the house was positioned with its main living space between two of the largest stumps on the site. The vehicular approach veers east upon entry to the site and slides down the side of the ravine to a garage located at the lowest level.

Taking cues from the cedar stumps, the house is conceived as a dark mass that sits unobtrusively within its wooded setting, giving prominence to the trees and the natural topography of the surrounding landscape. Formally, the house is a long, narrow block wrapped in a skin of dark-stained siding with volumes strategically carved out and lined with contrasting yellow cedar. Almost all the glazed and operable panels in the walls are located within these recesses, offering them protection from the elements. In some instances, the siding extends beyond the envelope to form slatted screens that act as guards as well as light filters. In the evenings, the recessed windows and glazing located behind the wood screens become warmly lit planes that hint at the life and activity within.

Monteyne: Of the several neo-modern west coast houses submitted for consideration, this house stands above due to a poetic charge derived from the immediate locale. The dark house sited between giant charred stumps evokes the potentially tragic consequences of building wooden houses in fire-prone forests.

Shnier: I am intrigued by the plan of this project. It seems to take certain conventions and stretch them into the landscape. I cannot help but wonder whether this longing for length is an unconscious reaction to the presence of the two sadly beautiful cedar stumps on the site.

Yarinsky: The plan and elevations of this house are particularly well resolved. The compact and efficient plan maximizes the interconnection of the house with its site. Of the houses that were submitted, this is the only one that is omni-directional in orientation.

Client: David Chamberland and Anjel Amend

Architect team: David Battersby, Heather Howat, Tillie Kwan, Josie Grant

Structural: Perbix Bykonen

Model + Renderings: Tomas Machnikowski

Area: 4,000 ft2

Budget: withheld