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River Place Home Uses Trusses to Cantilever Both Ends

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At the end of a single lane country road cut into a hillside and located on the site of first vineyard recorded in the Juliaette, ID, USA area, is a riverside home. The owners wanted an energy efficient home and they wanted to preserve and restore the vineyard, this created two of many challenges for Paul F. Hirzel Architects. Two structures where designed for the site, the main building and a secondary building to entertain groups of people – possibly for wine tasting from the restored vineyard. The main building incorporates a truss system that spans 80ft at the centre with a 32 foot and 16 foot cantilever at either end – one that extends out and over the river.

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Both buildings are built with a steel exoskeleton and the exposed structure frames the cantilevered deck of the main building, creating an intimate gathering place for guests to enjoy the riverside scenery,

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If something interesting is happening off of the deck, it is a short flight of stairs down to the riverbank.

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On the other end, the truss system cantilevers out to create a walkway through a grove of cottonwoods until it reaches its final destination – the parking area.

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The main building is designed to incorporate 3 wings – one for the homeowners, one for guests, and a common area consisting of the kitchen, washroom and living area. Each wing is heavily insulated and separately temperature regulated allowing the homeowners and their guests to relax in comfort during the 110+deg F temperatures it can reach in the summer. Because of this, the 3 wings are referred to as “three refrigerators sitting on a bridge”. The main building is located above the Potlatch River’s flood plane, situating it at 905 feet above sea level. This also reduces encounters with the healthy snake population that resides on the river’s edge.

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All 3 wings are connected by an outdoor-screened passageway with views to the cotton grove and the river respectively. Both buildings use bolts rather then welding to join the halmalume metal siding, galvanized steel and oiled garapa wood decking. The bolt system reduced the fire hazard when building the structures. It also means the two buildings are completely prefabricated and easily disassembled if need be.

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There is a spiral staircase that goes to a roof top deck. The Roof deck creates a covered area for the space below to create shade, but some of the joists are left open to let filtered light through.

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With no hand rails on the deck this area is a private place to kick back, relax, and enjoy the uninterrupted views of the surrounding hills.

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The Interior spaces of the buildinga are clad in local Pine, clear-coated to keep its natural patina. The interior spaces are built with exposed framing lumber and plywood sheathing.

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The kitchen cabinets are local Pine laminated together for a flat panel profile, the upper cabinets are open shelved and the backsplash is a bank of windows The room is large and spacious with a table located in the centre. A large drum lamp is suspended above the table for extra lighting.

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The washroom looks out over the cotton grove and a large floor to ceiling window gives the “bather” an unobstructed view.

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The second, smaller building is located 1000 feet upstream on a cliff overlooking the Potlatch River and is used primarily for entertaining – for example “wine tasting”.

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This secondary structure features a 40 foot cantilever over the river that offers a spectacular view of Steelhead in a spawning pool below.

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Floorplan of main building.

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Elevation of main building.

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Floorplan of secondary building.

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Elevation of secondary building.
Paul F. Hirzel Architects
Photographs by Jim Van Gundy, Robert Hutchison



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