JLS Design - Steel Tree House

JLS Design
Steel Tree House

Right, well, my first entry for Temperate Architecture, houses able to handle real cold and loads of snow, yet with balconies for those 3 weeks of heat in summer.

Rather than the traditional wide plan of a solar gain type house, this house protects/ stores the heat through wrapped up rear rooms and opens out at the front.

JLS Design have created a superb semi cantilevered house here. The steel and concrete construction, lined with warm redwood slats looks wonderful in this forest setting. The strong pillars support lighter steel frames and then the soft wood panels encase the liquid sand (windows). Its a nice transition and these strong supporting pillars encroach slightly on each floor, helping to partition the open plan areas into their segments of kitchen, dining and living. Between them are little bay window/balcony areas on the sides and a large deck out front on both main floors.

Layout wise the rooms that need the view are at the front looking down the valley and those without, where you sleep, are tucked up warmly at the back of the house. The parents have a master floor, with a balcony/conservatory/living room in front of their bedroom, and the kids have the kitchen, dining room and living room to themselves below.

One slight thought, am I convinced that the house is structurally sound enough to park two cars above the children's bedrooms? A testament to the structural design of this place, and that fact that due to the flat roof it could hold tonnes of snow on each section. I also like the fact that it's set out from the land to give views and "treads lightly" with the pillars at the front allowing deer to wander through.

From their site:

Subtly suspended in the Central Sierra Nevada forest canopy, the Stal Tre Hus' (steel tree house's) floating planes and corner glass spaces coexist with tree limbs as the residence strides into the landscape. Vertical plaster towers and steel beams facilitate a delicate 300 lb. / ft. snow load solution. Inherent difficulties of integrating the required garage (at 6,300 ft. elevation) into a 70 ft. wide x 180 ft. deep - shotgun - downsloping lot, initiated the creative solution. We felt the need to integrate the design of the garage with that of the whole structure. Vertical (interior / exterior) plaster towers, spanning steel beams, and redwood and glass infill define the delicate vocabulary. Shear towers cautiously landing on the forest floor, provide a sensitive alternative to the conventional foundation. Regional / historic material evolution, redwood, clear & translucent glass utilization, enhances the "indoor/outdoor" fusion.

Via: Architectural Record