The project elaborates on the physical connections between these two homes coexisting in a single rehabilitated envelope. The programmatic scheme and the interrelations of spaces of both houses are tided up to these vertical connections. What qualifies those spaces, however, is unique in each unit. The roof on the top unit is build up to be a sculptural yet neutral continuous element that resolves space, lighting, and views. A human scale continuous linear window faces amazing views over the valley, while an identical window located on the top of the roof, enables to view the summit of the mountain. In the lower unit, a wide and off-scale opening will focus light, views, and therefore activity on an interior-exterior space.
The project is sympathetic of vernacular architecture by respecting not only the envelope, but also its construction and operational logics and its esthetics. By preserving the envelope and doing a minimal yet contrasted intervention, the idea is to reinforce the historical values of vernacular architecture. Moreover, the project is design to be sustainable. New technologies and old vernacular knowledge are implemented to make the Pyrenees houses two sustainable houses in an extreme climate.
We lived straight up Phinney Ave. on Phinney Ridge from Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood when at the bottom you could have a “microbrew” in a “smoke-free” “brewpub” at Red Hook’s Trolleyman.
19 years later, “foodies” sample “organic”, “small batch”, “single-origin”, “fair for life” chocolate at Theo in the same adaptively-reused historic brick trolley barn.
What is it in the going away, and coming back to a place, to witness a little history unfold from the same street corner?
How far flung or how long adrift before you find your beer or taste chocolate like you’ve never tasted before (like I just have: 74% Single-Origin Madagascar Dark Chocolate)? I suppose if you’ve never left Fremont [or are one of the happy 500 employees at Adobe’s Fremont campus] you wouldn’t have to go far or be gone very long.
As for the rest us, is it only either the porch swing or carpetbagging? There’s plenty of beauty to behold from the porch swing…with a beer…and some chocolate…oh and WiFi.
The realization that barns are for farm animals, houses are for people, came as a kind of ‘discovery’ for us romantics about old working structures like barns, that they are certainly romantic in the way they offer a stage and space for your creative mind, body and soul. Fine examples of this include a feature in DWELL and a project from W-architecture.
But impeding this true bliss are, well, those petty and practical needs of shelter from the elements: having planned a vacation around a long weekend’s stay in one such converted barn, a windstorm brought us closer to the foregone conclusion. At gusts of up to 50 miles per hour overnight, it was as if we were on board an arctic ice breaker, we were kept awake and alarmed by the crushing and raucous thunder of the loosely laid tin roof lifting off the rafters and panning back down. Think Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture without the tune! Oh, and the almost constant quest for the warmth of a fire, not romantic warmth either. Not to mention the vermin, the insects, the threat of water infiltration, wood rot and unannounced total structural collapse.
Still, the tension may only enhance the romance, and if you are prolific, great works of arts & letters may sneak through the floor boards like a dank and musty draft or through the unchinked wallboards like the light of inspiration itself…