The design emerged right out of the brief. The need to make a compact, energy efficient house through passive solar gain was the main criteria. Another important criteria was to provide ample views to the South to gain maximum sun and place the house on the best possible contours, to reduce extra excavation and keeping the winter heat map in mind.
The house is approached from the road via a board walk. The entry is quiet and conspicuous, with earth berms flanking its walls along gradual slopes. It is split into two levels, with the upper level surrounded by berming and the lower level being largely fit into the earth.
The arctic entry opens into the foyer or mudroom area. This space is multi-usable with place to store wood, shoes and create a comfortable waiting for visitors. Through the foyer there are direct views to the South. In the entire house except for the pantry and bathrooms, all rooms have views to the South and also be able to hear the forest noises. The top floor houses the study den and a small bedroom. At this level the habitant has the option of climbing a small ladder and entering the sleeping tower room which is a cosy room of 9 by 10 feet. This room offers 360 panoramic views of the mountains and the ocean ahead.
The staircase from the foyer level leads to a spacious kitchen which occupies the centre of the house. Two bedrooms flank the East and West side of the house. A smaller level difference offers an opportunity to create interesting seating spaces in the living and dining space. The living area is designed to be informal and well lit opening up to a deck which extends to the forest.
The most suitable structural building material for Earth sheltered homes is concrete, especially since the house has a vaulted roof which is to support earth berming. Pile foundations also seem ideal option for foundation systems. The upper level opens up to a roof garden, making it appear seamlessly tucked into the Earth. The tower room breaks the symmetrical monotony of the house and offers a pleasing composition in the elevation. The floor plans and sections are designed to keep it as compact as possible to trap the heat inside and gain maximum views. The spaces offer many spots for peak-a-boo views and create playful opportunities for adults and children alike.