Ballard Cut in Seattle by Prentiss Architects
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The Ballard Cut house by Prentiss Architects is located in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle, WA. Its owners previously lived on a boat for 14 years.

From the architects:

The project is sited on a difficult highly regulated site with a steep slope to the west and a large railroad easement and setback to the east. In response to these challenges the concrete foundation and cellar are set back from the slope establishing an anchor. The lighter framed portion of the house is elevated by the foundation and extended over the steep slope buffer to access the water view. While the main floor had little choice in where it could be located, the canted second floor, rotated from the axis of the main floor, allows the bedroom, bath and office to focus on the stunning views to the Sound and the Olympics. The raised first floor is accessed along an elevated board walk which furthers the feeling that the house is “floating” above a sunken yard; appropriate imagery for the clients who are making the transition to dry land after residing on a boat for 14 years.

The massing of the house is also informed by the volume of train activity to the east. The linear scheme allows for the east wall to act as a barrier to insulate both the interior of the house and the west yard from the railroad noise. While the west elevation is largely glazed to allow access to the view, the east wall has few openings to maintain the solidity necessary for sound protection. While working with sound blocking masses, the entire house remains infused with light from multiple directions.

A minimal pallet of inexpensive finish materials was used to achieve an economy of scale and reduce transition details. For example; an inexpensive concrete fiber board was used for most exterior surfaces, accented by smaller areas of cedar siding. Tight-knot rough cedar is selected rather than expensive and environmentally questionable clear cedar. This roughness is balanced with the smooth concrete fiber board to achieve both harmony and economy. The green roof, while not inexpensive in the initial install offers more savings in the long run, reduces heat reflection into the upper rooms and provides a place to garden on a very small lot.

Extensive glazing was desired on the west elevation. Rather than install an expensive curtain-wall system, less expensive aluminum nail-fin windows were ganged together and trimmed with aluminum break shapes to achieve a similar effect for a reduced cost.

Principal Architect: Geoff Prentiss / Prentiss Architects
Project Architect: Dan Wickline
Completed: 2009
Size: 9,156 square feet
Photographers: Kozo Nozawa and Dan Wickline

Jaime Derringer, Founder + Executive Editor of Design Milk, is a Jersey girl living in SoCal. She dreams about funky, artistic jewelry + having enough free time to enjoy some of her favorite things—running, reading, making music, and drawing.