ROBERT ARLT architect

Firesteel House

2015 AIASD Design Award - Merit
2015 AIASD Design Award - People's Choice

Initial meetings revealed clients wanting a modern home design tailored to their large collections of Middle Eastern rugs, brass coffee pots, and art objects gathered from their stays while working in Saudi Arabia. On a south facing, sloped site on the banks of Firesteel Creek, a 2,650 square foot passive solar home informed the diurnal west/east design of outdoor spaces including a screen porch cube, south cantilevering ship’s deck, and secret garden off the master bedroom.

A vaulted volume with cedar wood siding installed in a rain screen application sits atop a volume clad in corten steel left to weather. The simple volumes allow just one type of floor and roof truss and three hand-framed, articulating deviations are designed to block solar gains from the setting sun as well as views to neighbors to enhance privacy and the southern view. Proportions were kept at 24 feet in depth and windows are strategically placed to frame views and provide cross-ventilation to all spaces. Three types of glass combine with custom aluminum sunshades to control passive solar heat gains.

Interior walls were kept below the ceiling to bounce soft natural light to all spaces. At night, custom fabricated up-lighting at these locations amplifies the effect. The East corten wall cuts from exterior to interior through a sliver window and frames a traditional Iraqi door in polychromed wood.

A cantilevered shelf the length of the home provides a place for indirect uplighting as well as a display area for their vast collection of antique bronze and copper coffee pots. A steel cable “harp stair” using tensile cable was designed and locally fabricated to link the upper and lower levels.

*Work completed with another Architect