Building Type: Residential
Location: Blaine County, Idaho, USA
Completed June 2014.
QB Corporation’s Products: Custom Beams, Stock Beams.
Additional Information: Principal Architect: Jack Smith FAIA.
In collaboration with Jessica Jellison AIA. Photography: Fred Lindholm. AIA Merit Award Idaho Chapter, 2014. AIA Citation Award Montana Chapter, 2014.
HOUSE III AT HULEN MEADOWS represents an exquisite private residence in Idaho’s beautiful mountain resort town. This exceptional dwelling spans approximately 4,000 square feet, providing ample space for a family of four, with guest areas and in-home office space. Drawing from their firsthand experience growing up in ski resorts and their knowledge of snow behavior, the clients specifically requested a flat roof to eliminate snowdrops and ice cycles. The design mitigates potential issues by allowing wind to sweep away significant snow accumulations instead of falling on the leeward side of a pitched roof. While the site resides in a “blue” avalanche zone, the risk of avalanches is minimal.
Nevertheless, the design incorporates essential avalanche barrier walls and shutters to ensure safety. Additionally, corten steel trellises serve a dual purpose as guard railings and vines’ support, visually grounding the house within the landscape and providing shade during summer months. The clients’ desire to capture the majestic mountain views, particularly to the south, east, and north, is realized through extensive use of large glass areas and casement windows that facilitate cross ventilation and welcome refreshing summer breezes. Formal tree bosques have been thoughtfully planted to enhance privacy and offer additional shade. While the landscape is still maturing since the house was completed in June, the intention is for natural grasses, wildflowers, and native brush to gradually blend with the formal planting, further harmonizing the house with its magnificent mountain setting. The structural system of this residence plays a pivotal role in shaping its architectural character. Manufactured at QB Corporation, three layers of glue-laminated wood timber, the wood post, and the beam frame form a modified Vierendeel truss with universal rods, creating moment connections. This innovative approach allows for greater spans while minimizing the required material. Most wood products used in residence originate from Idaho wood species, ensuring sustainability and meeting FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification.
Moreover, all processing and manufacturing took place within a 150-mile radius of the site, supporting local resources. The material palette contains a captivating blend of glue-laminated Douglas fir wood posts, QB Corporation’s “Custom” and “Stock” beams, natural concrete, cedar siding, vertical grain fir, stucco, corten steel, and glass. Inside, polished concrete, black granite, white marble, and natural maple floors, trim, and cabinets grace the living spaces, infusing elegance and sophistication. Thanks to the clever design that promotes natural cross ventilation, the residence requires no chillers for cooling, significantly reducing its carbon footprint. An in-floor radiant heating system powered by 97% efficient gas-fired boilers ensures optimal comfort during colder months. The exposed natural concrete walls and floors in the house’s lower and selected upper areas act as thermal mass, enhancing solar gain and the effectiveness of the radiant heating system. As a result, minimal forced air circulation is necessary. Impressively, the residence achieved a home energy rating of 57, surpassing local requirements. This remarkable feat was accomplished by implementing various best practices, including whole-envelope insulation, heat-recovery ventilation, optimized solar gain, and radiant heat. The home was tested at an impressive 1.26 ARH50° by meticulously sealing the building envelope, further enhancing its energy efficiency. The emphasis on the thermal envelope also led to minimal mechanical equipment, resulting in a serene, efficient, healthy, and comfortable living space.