The Rambler

Location: Kitsap Peninsula, WA
Size: 1,700 square feet
Status: Design Phase
Project Team: Jon Gentry AIA, Aimée
O’Carroll ARB, Yuchen Qiu

Project Narrative

Located on the Kitsap Peninsula just up the hill from a small beach town, this residence takes its place on a cherished piece of family property. On a secluded wooded site, the new structure grounds itself to the earth with its approach to material and form. The concept for the design evolved out of a solid rectangular volume stretched across the site in a typical one-story “Rambler” style. The volume was carved away to open spaces, sliced through to open axial views, and punctured and perforated to let in light and allow natural ventilation while maintaining privacy in select areas.

The design explores the relationship of ground and roof plane and stretches these out horizontally, emphasizing the connection to earth and creating opportunities for framing the sky. The ground plane utilizes a raised concrete base that provides physical and visual weight to the new residence and performs multiple tasks as structure, heating source (radiant hydronic piping), and finish surface (polished concrete slab). The roof plane creates a large sheltering overhang that shades and protects the windows/doors/walls and provides ample space for roof terrace, green roof, and herb garden. Similar to the concept of subtracting from the walls, the roof plane is carved away in select areas to open large voids with direct connection to the trees and sky and slices of skylights to wash walls and activate the main spaces with plenty of light. The single element that breaks the datum of the roof is a site cast fireplace and chimney that acts as a totem marking the heart of the living space - a space for family gatherings and music to be played.

The concrete base and full height masonry walls serve to create an architectural language of visual mass and permanence for the home. The masonry walls and mortar joints are highly textured countering the smooth finished concrete surface of the interior floor and wrap around concrete terrace. Materials that are low maintenance and get better with age were very important from the outset of the project. Fir trees from the site that make way for the structure will be milled and dried in situ during construction and are used to create the finish lid of the roof plane. A strong connection of interior and exterior spaces was considered from the very beginning of the project. Brick screen walls extend out into the landscape creating semi-enclosed exterior rooms that filter light and views at the east and west ends of the site. The green of the landscape is invited right up to the perimeter walls and in some cases like the entry garden, right into the center of the home.