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The Agosta House is located on a 43 acre property, largely covered by second-growth Douglas Fir forest. Ten acres have been dedicated to a perpetual conservation easement. The house is sited on a grassed meadow, enclosed on 3 sides by the dark fir forest, but open to the northwest, where it overlooks rolling fields and distant views.

2005 – American Institute of Architects National Honor Award
2004 – Governor General’s Medal
2003 – Lieutenant-Governor’s Medal
2003 – American Institute of Architects Northwest and Pacific Region Honor Award
2002 – North American Wood Design Honor Award
2001 – American Institute of Architects Seattle Honor Award

The house is stretched across the ridge of the meadow, so that it forms a ‘spatial dam’. This dam creates an enclosed forecourt to the house, a ‘spatial reservoir’ which is released through the house to the panorama below, a sea of picturesque fields and waterways. The building section is battered — walls and roof sloped — to respond to the gentle but steady slope of the site. The spatial organization of the house is the result of extruding this section and manipulating it either by erosion, to create exterior in-between spaces that subdivide the house programmatically, or by the insertion of non-structural bulkheads that organize the interior into finer-scaled spatial areas. The structure consists of a combination of exposed heavy-timber fir framing and gypsum board clad stud framing, founded on a simple concrete slab-on-grade. The exterior is largely clad in zactique metal cladding, intended not only to protect the structure from the effects of weather, but also to address the possibility of wildfire in an area not well served by firefighting.


Location: San Juan Island, Washington
Dates: 1996-2000
Client: William and Karin Agosta

Architect: Patkau Architects Inc.

Project Team: John Patkau, Patricia Patkau, David Shone

Structural: Fast & Epp Structural Engineers

Contractor: Ravenhill Construction Inc.

Photos: James Dow