Alaska Residence

This new construction home is on a corner infill lot in the Old Fourth Ward neighborhood. In this home, there is an emphasis on site-specific design and seamless integration of the home with the outdoors. Careful consideration and emphasis of landscape design and elements was a priority here. The very exposed corner lot raised slightly above street level meant that most sides of the home are fairly visually exposed so it was even more important here than normal to insure that no elevation of the home was secondary in design or material. The glass “box” entry addresses the house’s corner condition. A play of varying floor levels in the home provides spatial interest and distinguishes room functions in the home without having to use walls to do so.

Despite large areas of window glass, passive solar design strategies such as very large overhangs, deep inset windows and careful window placement ensure great interior light though with relatively modest solar energy gain. On the side street elevation, a “floating” architectural frame element echoes a similar one on the front but remains open to provide solar protection to a second-floor rooftop deck. A large, architecturally integrated planter separated from the dining room by a seamless glass wall blurs the boundary between indoor and outdoor – bringing a sense of garden connection to a space that is raised well above grade level.

Olympic Place Courtyard House

Olympic Place Courtyard House uses an L-shaped typology to create a structure that integrates elements of its cultural context, site, and program into a warm and inviting home for the family that lives there. The L-shape of the house was driven by the location of the existing trees and opportunities for harvesting natural daylight and was embraced because of the transparency it offered when circulation was pulled to the inner courtyard edge of the house. Overhangs along the courtyard are sized to allow for passive daylight, taking advantage of the site’s southern exposure.

The courtyard-facing circulation axes are punctuated at their intersection by a three-story space at the heart of the home. A stair wraps around this opening and enables the stack effect to pull warm air up and out of the house through operable windows at the top. The fireplace is another strong organizing element, rising from the foundation all the way through the cantilevered roof opening.

Stucco, cypress siding, and glass are the predominant materials. Stucco is used to emphasize the weight of the home’s plinth, and glass wraps around the main level of the house to allow the cypress-wrapped volumes to float above. Interior walls are pulled through each level to keep the facade open and the interior spaces legible and consistent through the transparent skin.

In addition to the passive sustainable design strategies described above, a geothermal heat pump system provides air at stable temperatures, minimizing the energy required to heat and cool the home.

Berkshire Terminus

Berkshire Terminus is located in the heart of Buckhead’s business district at the intersection of Peachtree Street and Piedmont Road. Surrounded by world-class office, hotel and residential high-rises; with easy pedestrian access to numerous restaurants, entertainment venues and a MARTA rail station. Berkshire Terminus has helped transform the district into a walkable, high-density live, work and play community, bringing premium-quality residential living to a traditionally office-focused corridor.

Innovative design is most evidenced in the integration of a mid-rise building within a high-rise environment. Connections to the existing garden plaza and streets enhance the pedestrian environment. An indoor-outdoor extension of the garden plaza gives residents and the public a view into the building’s amenity courtyard, which is oriented to highlight the Atlanta skyline.

The architectural design of Terminus speaks to the surrounding facades of polished, commercial office buildings and high-rise condominiums while at the same time using residential building materials and elements like warm wood accents and bright, colorful sunshades that add warmth and human scale to the Terminus community. The structure further humanizes the pedestrian community with townhouse-style front stoops lining Terminus Drive. These single entry spaces yield a feeling of place and add a residential-quality to the bustling business district. Electric car charging stations, ample bike storage, strong connectivity to the surrounding pedestrian sidewalk system and close proximity to bus and rail provide residents with a wide range of transportation options. A wide range of unit sizes and configurations accommodate a wide variety of lifestyles.

ICC-700 National Green Building Standard’s at Bronze Level are reflected in smaller private floor plans, enhanced community spaces, sustainable water retention. Berkshire Terminus transformed a traditionally office-focused corridor into a high-quality high-density, live/work/play community, making it a lively and engaging urban village day and night. A bridge over Highland Drive provides a gateway for people moving from the offices to entertainment venues along Peachtree.


Cottonwood Westside

Elan Westside fills a challenging site with a dynamic new structure. The project consists of a 197 unit wood frame and epi-core apartment building located at the corner of Howell Mill and 14th street on Atlanta’s booming West Side. It anchors an important corner site in the heart of the “Westside Provisions District” – a high-end collection of shopping, dining, and entertainment options – all within a block of the building site.

The program is mixed-use, with 200,000 square feet of residential space and 15,000 square feet of retail/restaurant space. Both street frontages are enlivened with active uses, encouraging foot traffic and a mix of dining and shopping offerings.

The units were in high demand and the occupancy rate is 100%. Residents enjoy amenities that include a central courtyard, pool, and club room. Most apartments also offer dramatic skyline views of the surrounding city.

Rather than succumb to the more common traditional approach or all-glass aesthetic, the exterior features a variety of natural materials including wood, stucco and brick that all serve to add an overall warmth and texture to the structure. Parking is hidden.


Seventh Midtown

Seventh Midtown is a mixed-use, boutique high-rise occupying a prominent corner along Peachtree Street in Midtown Atlanta. The building includes luxury residential units over retail space, including a signature Starbucks Reserve.

The 9-level development includes 20 condominiums in approximately 48,000 square feet of residential space. The typical residential floor accommodates three different units, with two unique penthouse units on the top four floors. The penthouse units feature large balconies—complete with fireplaces—overlooking the lively intersection of 7th and Peachtree. Project features include gracious lobby areas and private outdoor living rooms.

Walkway connectors to the adjacent, existing Viewpoint condo high-rise provide access to shared dweller amenities and parking. In addition, the architect redesigned the Viewpoint building’s retail facades stretching all the way to 6th Street, and that provided a valuable opportunity to architecturally tie the streetscape together along the entire city block.

The design objective was to provide a luxury residential building appropriate for upscale, somewhat older dwellers in Midtown Atlanta. The design strategy incorporates a darker, richer palette of materials than surrounding residential high-rises (typically cladded with a simple window wall expression). The use of punched windows and rusticated brick provided a textural warmth and sense of scale that has proved more intimate and inviting.

Brooklyn Riverside

The Brooklyn Riverside is comprised of seven buildings that create a total of 310 Residential Apartment Units with 77 private tuck under garages. Each building is a Type VA with an NFPA 13R sprinkler system allowing the four levels. The project consists of platform framed wood stud walls with prefabricated wood floor and roof trusses. The Brooklyn maxes out the density allowed on the site, bringing more people closer to the city center. The layout of the seven buildings on the site provide the look of an urban city block, and having cantilevered balconies provided at each unit connects the residents to the neighborhood.

Using wood as the main building material lends the project to be very sustainable, and compared to using concrete, can reduce the amount of CO2 emissions. At a closer look inside, all exterior, corridor and demising walls have batt insulation or spray cellulose for their sound dampening abilities but also provide energy efficiency for each building and unit. The roof/ceiling assembly provided prefabricated wood trusses that have batt insulation at the bottom cord.

Casa DeSilva

The site for this single family residence is located immediately alongside the northern ridge of “El Cerro de Chipinque” in the Sierra Madre Oriental range in the state of Nuevo Leon in northeast Mexico. The house is configured to maximize views of the parallel ridgeline, as well as the dramatic peak, known as La Eme (“the M”), which terminates the eastern vista.

In the configuration of the residence, interior and exterior spaces are defined primarily by vertical planes of concrete, sliding in and out of the house to define interior and exterior zones for living, exploring the themes of Transparency and Penetration.

Secondary forms clad in thinly sliced black granite or contrasting white plaster express more solid and enclosed volumes. The texture and color of the granite alludes to the visible rock peaks of the mountain range looming above. More monochromatic cut stone was used for flooring. Completing the palette of materials, warmer tones of wood are used inside and out which contrast with the coolness of the granite and concrete.

While the wood and stone components are largely expressed as simple cubic forms, the plasticity inherent in concrete is expressed and articulated with more complexity — forming portals, generating negative space, and framing views. The composition is an honest expression of materials, selected to provide a range of textures, and configured to provide a hierarchy of scale.


Nantahala Mountain Retreat

The project is a modest 1,000-square-foot modern retreat in Scaly Mountain, North Carolina. The project site is a steeply sloping 6 acre ridge parcel that borders the Nantahala National Forest mountain ranges. The inspiration for the house is from Japanese bungalow houses. The planning goals were to embrace and engage the surrounding landscape, capitalizing on the views of ridge line, treetops, and rock face; and to expand the square footage by merging interior space with exterior decks.

The main living space is an open plan living/kitchen/dining area with reclaimed wide plank oak flooring ; the main focus is the window wall and view A glass panel door recesses into the wall opening the kitchen to the perch deck. A large reclaimed wood and iron table rests over the kitchen island and easily rolls out to the perch deck for outdoor dining. The wall opposing the view and ceilings are board and batten black stained pine that are inspired by the Japanese technique of Shou Sugi Ban and balance well with the room’s neutral color palate and saturation of natural light. The finishes are extended in the bedrooms and bath and are furnished minimally with Japanese-inspired bedding.

The extreme slope of the site required thoughtful use of foundation and support posts, braced to stand up to high winds. Windows and doors also had to meet high wind load requirements required by the local codes. A collaboration with our strucural consultant resulted in an integrated solution for the double joist overhangs on the upper portions of the roof that would withstand the wind load.

An additional challenge was to create a high impact property with a limited budget. Less expensive black stained board and batten pine siding was used instead of sho sugi ban charred wood,to create the Japanese-inspired look. Meticulous roofing details were achieved using less expensive material, including corrugated metal roofing that was treated to rust quickly, and outriggers crafted from standard pressure treated lumber. The deck rails were created using pressure treated top cap, hog pen fencing, with flat bar steel supports combined in a modern and surprising way on both decks and the entrance bridge.

The rolling table over the island and multiple tree stump stools configured as a coffee table allow for flexible uses of furnishings throughout the space.

Logistical challenges included building in a remote location and managing the build from afar, understanding that work hours and practices differ in a small mountain town and are highly dependent on unpredictable weather patterns. Modern details are not customary in the region, and were often overlooked or flawed in execution, adding to the overall timeline and cost of the project. The project certainly provided an appreciation of small spaces, and how to maximize their use and efficiency. Perhaps the greatest lesson we learned is to thoroughly confer with contractor references ahead of time to get an up-front understanding of the subs that are planed to use. The client plans to continue to build further on the site.