Wednesday, March 06, 2013
Architecture Wednesday: The Pierre
This house, located on San Juan Island in the state of Washington, is all about the owner’s affection for a stone outcropping on her property and the views one can see from its peak.
Conceived as a bunker nestled into the rock, the Pierre, the French word for stone, celebrates the materiality of the site, and, from certain angles, the house–with its rough materials, monolithic stone, green meadow roof and surrounding foliage–almost disappears into nature.
In order to achieve this disappearing act, portions of the rock outcropping were excavated by both machine and by hand. The contractor used large drills to set the outline of the building, then used dynamite, hydraulic chippers, a selection of wire saws and other hand tools, working with finer and finer implements as construction progressed. The rock wasn't just thrown away, however; the excavated stone was re-used as crushed aggregate in the concrete flooring.
With the exception of a separate guest suite, the Pierre functions on one main level, with an open plan kitchen, dining and living space. A wood-clad storage box transitions from outside to inside the house; its two large bookcases open to provide concealed access to laundry and kitchen storage. A large pivoting steel and glass door opens for access to an outdoor terrace. Set at a right angle to the main spaces, a master suite features a custom designed bed with a leather headboard and footboard set in the middle of floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.
Throughout the house, the rock extrudes into the space, contrasting with the luxurious textures of the furnishings. Interior and exterior fireplace hearths are carved out of existing stone; leveled on top, they are otherwise left raw. The master bathroom’s sink is composed of water cascading through three polished pools in the existing stone. Off the main space, a powder room is fully carved out of the rock. A skytube is through to the top of the rock and topped by glass. A mirror set within the tube serves as a focal point, reflecting natural light into the space and connecting to a forged bronze sink.
They used top call Alcatraz 'The Rock', but I think house deserves the name now.