Architect Shigeru Ban of Tokyo and architect Brigette Shim of Toronto said of this project: “Through an elegant design by Bruce Hinckley, Alchemie, the street elevation of this surprising house generously presents itself to passersby while still retaining the privacy of life inside.” The site is a small promontory on the edge of a very steep slope in an old Seattle neighborhood.
Architect Eric Cobb desired to enhance views from the site while preserving privacy and providing level areas for outdoor living. Hillside stability and erosion control were also significant issues in site development. Working together E. Cobb Architects and Alchemie developed a series of outdoor rooms and corridors wrapped around a four-story tower.
The scale and nature of the house are deliberately camouflaged from the street. Existing vegetation and traditional plant materials were used to seamlessly connect the property into the traditional neighborhood. The entry walk and a glimpse of sky and water hint at something exceptional.
Architectural materials were extended into the landscape to create walkways, steps, and terraces. A covered outdoor room for rainy day dining abuts a grass quadrangle for larger gatherings. A gravel path and stone steps through native woodland connect a series of hillside terraces. A large cantilevered deck provides dramatic views of the lake and mountains while providing privacy within the living areas from the neighborhood below. To increase privacy from below, to capture borrowed scenery, to control erosion and to provide a calm counterpoint to the somewhat chaotic texture of the suburban hillside, the tower rises from a cloudlike forest of bamboo.
Architect: Eric Cobb, E. Cobb Architects