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Overlooking the city of Reno, this new custom residence creates a modern home integrated into the natural topography of the site. The site dictated everything in the design of this home that resides on the edge between Reno and the Sierra foothills. On a 10 acre lot, there was only one sliver of a ridge to place the home. The home is surgically cut into the rocky ridge with all of the non-habitable space buried below the residence reducing the visual scale of the home. This allowed the main level of the home to parallel the ridge and capture the city views to the east and the pristine mountain views to the west. The home protects the exterior living area and pool from strong winds from the west all year long. The residence is uniquely tied to its location and site both physically and visually, creating an intimate relationship of the home to the high desert site. The intent of the design was to have the residence sit in the native eastern Sierra environment, preserving and blending with the natural site with only minimal landscaping using drought-tolerant plant material native to the region.
The buildable ridge of the site allowed for perfect views and anchoring the residence to the site, but it was not ideal for passive solar which is typically easy to incorporate in northern Nevada. Running the structure parallel with the ridge reduced the impact of the structure on the site, but created issues with East and West exposures as the long axis runs South to North. To mitigate the poor exposures, the structure uses large overhangs to help protect the glazing from the heat in the summer. The building envelope is over-insulated with foam insulation in the walls, flooring, and roof cavities. The mechanical system is efficient with all radiant heating and cooling in the concrete floor slab. There is ample daylighting in the home reducing the need for artificial light during normal daylight hours. The house is designed to block the strong winds from the exterior deck and patio areas, but the fenestration allows for cross ventilation in all of the living areas. The sub-grade lower level consists of poured in place concrete retaining walls. The concrete provides a practical solution to retain as well as a desired aesthetic exterior base that anchors the residence to the site. The main level consists of concrete walls and a steel frame with wood infill for both walls and roof. The floors are concrete slab over metal decking. The concrete floor was ground smooth as the finished floor throughout the home. The wood framed walls are finished in with smooth stucco or hot rolled metal panel
Sustainable Design & Materials
All appliances were selected to be energy efficient and all lighting was specified as LED. The home is prepped to accept (4) hot water solar panels to supplement the radiant heating and domestic hot water. It is also set up to have a (48) solar voltaic panels on the guest bedroom wing, allowing for a 17.7 KW system. All paints and finishes were specified for low VOC content.
Green Building Designation(s)
Date of Completion
June of 2022
4690 Woodchuck Cir, Reno, NV 89519, USA
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