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Hilltop residence on a bluff overlooking Lake Washington

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Water is a constant presence throughout this Washington Park Hilltop Residence by Stuart Silk Architects, set on a bluff in Seattle overlooking Lake Washington. Views of the vast lake, Mt. Rainier and North Cascades dictated the orientation and transparency of the elevation facing the water. A plan then evolved to integrate water features into the home, to be experienced from inside and out.

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An unequal-sided “H” plan places the entry, living and dining areas in a central pavilion, while flanking wings contain the family’s private rooms. The passages to the wings are compressed between gently moving water courses inspired by the canals of Suzhou and Venice. These serve not only as ever-present reminders of the beauty of water, but also the nature of passage through life as one navigates across the home’s interior and exterior spaces. The alignment of the canals also focuses the building’s orientation toward the views.

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The mood of the house is quietly contemporary. The clients sought a quality of architecture that would outlive passing trends. They were also vitally concerned with the home’s sustainability; the architects incorporated many options that contribute to the projects durability and efficiency. Some examples include a green roof, gray water collection system, and solar panels for water heating.

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Though the building is geometrically simple, it offers a rich juxtaposition of solidity, transparency, and liquid movement.

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Photos: Rob Perry Photography

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