Sunday, December 18, 2011
Half Dose #99: Lake Union Float Home
[All photos by Ben Benschneider]
In a recent ideabook on Houzz I looked at four houses adjacent to water; the last one is literally on water, a houseboat in Vancouver's Coal Harbour. Similar in vein, but on the southern side of the US/Canadian border is the Lake Union Float Home by Designs Northwest Architects. Docked in Seattle, Washington, the two-story residence with rooftop deck was actually built in Vancouver and floated down to a ship repair yard by Seattle's famous Gasworks Park before it was completed and towed across Lake Union.
The fairly modern home occupies a slip in a water-based neighborhood with a diversity of architectural styles. The architects contend they looked to the "marina warehouses that have adorned the docks for centuries...large, box-like structures [that] dominate the Seattle waterfront and reflect the utilitarian roots of Seattle and men like: Doc Maynard, Arthur Denny, and Ivar Haglund." The exterior expression is a blend of expansive windows, cages on the roof and spiral stair, Western red cedar boards with vertical banding, and Trespa panels.
Much of the interior, like the top floor above, may not indicate that the house is docked, but the way the windows open on the lower floor like garage doors makes the context explicit to various senses. As can be seen in the floor plans at bottom, the lower floor is fairly open, containing the main entry and living spaces, while the top floor is more compartmentalized with a couple bedrooms. It may be located on the water, but the house has all the amenities of one inland, if in a more compact and efficient plan.
[Click image for larger view]