Located in the Methow Valley of Washington State, the Mazama house is a secluded mountain valley on the eastern edge of the North Cascades, about 200 miles northeast of Seattle. The architect placed the house in a grove of trees at the end of a large meadow with two major building volumes that indicate the organization of the home.
A grounded 2-story bedroom wing anchors a raised living pavilion that is lifted off the ground by a series of exposed steel columns making it seem as though the meadow in front of the house continues right under the main living space. The raised floor level also provides enhanced views and keeps the main living level well above the 3-4 feet of winter snow accumulation.
To further emphasize the idea of lightness, the exposed wood structure of the living pavilion roof changes pitch along its length, so the roof warps upward at each end. On the inside, the exposed wood beams appear like an unfolding fan as the roof pitch changes.
The house updates the idea of modern craftsmanship with cast bronze inserts at the front door, laser-cut steel railing panels, a curved cast-glass kitchen counter, waterjet-cut light fixtures, and custom furniture pieces; the living room alone contains more than twelve pieces of custom furniture.
And in addition to being gorgeous and light and open, the house is also a sustainable structure, with 40% higher insulation values than required by code, radiant concrete slab heating, natural ventilation, large amounts of natural lighting, water-conserving plumbing fixtures, deep roof overhangs, built-in shades and high operating clerestory windows used to reduce heat gain in summer. In winter months the lower sun angle penetrates into the living spaces and passively warms the exposed concrete floors.
The home is a tribute to a high level of craftsmanship with thoughtful ideas about sustainability. And so peaceful, too.