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New 2,400 sf home in Roslyn, WA
Tight-frame, zero-carbon, and zero-energy

We are building in a new way.

It is resilient, lasting 200+ years and easily accommodating interior revisions.

It is high-performance, with few thermal bridges and a robust fully-adhered weather barrier.

And it is lean, costing significantly less than traditional framing.

A single-family, full-time home at the sunny eastern edge of the Cascade Mountains will showcase this technique.

This house will be a testament just how far we’ve come from coal mining to a post-carbon future. We are building a Zero-Carbon, Zero-Energy home in a former coal mining company town.

The site is a typical residential lot within the city limits, though its position on the hill gives it a boost in sunlight and view above the city. And, it has the fortune of adjacency to the Roslyn Urban Forest.

Using Whole Site Life-cycle Assessment, we balance the carbon footprint required to build the house, off-set with carbon credits, and solely utilize on-site renewable energy, in addition to increasing overall performance.

Our patent application drawings join a post-frame structure with a PERSIST envelope, (Pressure Equalized Rain Screen Insulated Structural Technique).

A post-frame structure can go up in a matter of days. It is safe, effective, and uses significantly fewer resources than traditional framing. The PERSIST envelope offers unmatched performance in thermal, air, moisture, fire, and pest resistance. It keeps all of the structure warm and dry. It is unlike any other residential building method out there:

No eave or rake overhang needed.
No thermal bridges.
No leaks or gaps.
No interior finish required.

See the full story here.

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Mt. Tuam

New 3,200 sf home and 500 sf cottage on Salt Spring Island, BC
Tight-frame using healthy materials and low-energy detailing
Mt. Tuam

Perched on a prominent mountain on the southern tip of Salt Spring Island, this new residence overlooks the San Juan and Gulf Islands with views of both the Cascade and Olympic Mountain Ranges.

Designed first and foremost to be a healthy home, Mount Tuam is a living sanctuary that contributes positively to the well-being of its users, and to its site.

The design focuses on the aligned priorities of healthy spaces and a healthy environment: it is a high-performing home that supports personal and environmental benefits, both inside and out.

After living in several residences they discovered were negatively affecting their health and existing medical conditions, the owners decided to relocate to Salt Spring Island, which enjoys some of the best air quality in North America.

The home’s relatively remote site is nestled among large expanses of moss and rock outcroppings and overlooks a 900-acre ecological reserve.

Creating visual and physical connections to the outdoors was a key design concern, since the owners are often homebound and find their residence to be the vehicle linking them to the outside world.

The centerpiece of the 3,200-square-foot home is an expansive window wall overlooking a natural swimming pool and views of the Salish Sea and Mt. Baker beyond.

A sawtooth roof with clerestories spans the length of the home and also faces southeast, helping gather daylight to interior spaces throughout the day as well as provide significant ventilation and day-long passive solar gains.

Ample fresh air and direct sunlight stimulate connections between the users and their environment that are critical for their physical, mental, and emotional health.

Healthy material strategies are paramount to the design, with the clients requiring a chemically neutral space. The design prioritizes non-VOC materials, including an exposed timber structure and Douglas Fir casework finished with a water-based, VOC-absorbing paint, and exposed concrete floors that act as a thermal heat sink.

Aluminum exterior cladding helps deflect unwanted electromagnetic frequencies, while also providing a resilient shell that can stand up to the marine environment.

The home’s exposed tight-frame structure combined with a PERSIST envelope (Pressure Equalized Rain Screen Insulated Structural Technique) is a patent-pending system developed by the architects that offers unmatched performance in thermal, air, moisture, fire, and pest resistance, along with being extremely resilient, long-lasting, and efficient to construct.

See the full story here.

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DADU 206

Accessory dwelling unit with open upstairs living space
Plans are free to license
DADU 206

600 sf accessory dwelling unit with open upstairs living.
$127,000 estimated construction cost.

Exposed Tight Post kit framing.
Highly performing envelope with zero-VOC materials inside and out.
Design Option allows for the varied slopes and height limitations of America's backyards.

Panelized building, reconceived from the bottom-up.

Tight Post framing kit designed for the weekend warrior to put it together.
Standard dimensional lumber with simple connections.

How does Tight Post framing compare? In a 4' bay:
     Standard framing requires 30 members, with a 25% framing factor.
     Advanced framing requires 20 members, with a 22% framing factor.
     Tight Post framing uses only 7 members, with a 15% framing factor.

77% fewer pieces.

No thermal bridging. Thick exterior insulation. Detail-driven.

How does thermal performance stack up to the 2018 WSEC?
     Roof (U 0.016):                              1.6 times better
     Walls Above Grade (U 0.028):       2.0 times better
     Walls Below Grade (U 0.032):       1.3 times better
     Slab (F 0.300):                               1.8 times better

Modeled EUI of 10.6 kBtu/sf/year:      4.2 times better than national average

Solar Passive: Abundant winter solar heating from south glazing.
Solar Active: 8:12 roof pitch for ideal exposure. Expected 3,544 kWh/Year in Seattle, WA.
Passive Ventilation: Just 12' wide with 290 sf of all-operable windows.

Plans are free to license. Preview the drawings here.
Email us if you'd like to use them!

See the full story here.

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Two new homes, one AADU, and one DADU in Seattle, WA
All tight-frame and all zero-energy

Two sites slope down to Lake Washington at Seattle's northern reach.

Both look East.
Both are located on steep slopes.
Both will be net-zero energy homes.

The east site uses a rammed earth wall to carve a place to access the home and ADUs.
This interstitial space allows for view-facing decks that terrace up the landscape.

Inside, the top floor opens up to the surrounding tree canopy and beyond to Lake Washington and glimpses of Mt. Baker.

At only 20' wide, the home amplifies the feeling of opening up to the landscape with sun and breeze from both sides. The 4' on-center expressed frame forms a cadence of space and light, with large venting picture glazing framing connections between interior and exterior. Solar passively warms the space.

The central stairway doubles as both a light well and a play-space below.

Ancillary spaces and the ADUs utilize a similar open-plan language of visual connections and full-width spaces. Pocket doors and symmetry make it all possible.

See the full story here.

Old Cluff

New 1,380 sf home in Kennebunkport, ME
Advanced framing, with lean and passive techniques
Old Cluff

A modest facade surrounds a highly functional home.

The structure uses advanced framing techniques to achieve an efficient envelope with large open areas for living and light.

Southern solar exposure along the window wall is a priority to accomplish passive solar heating and a reduction in energy needs.

The white-washed wood interior and light shelf bounces sunlight to all interior areas, the concrete floor supports accessible living, and together wood and concrete create a healthy environment.

See the full story here.

We are design / build architects driven by building science.
Making sustainable the new typical.

Typical Works

Give us a call at 206 319 6915 or email us at

We believe zero energy homes are crucial to our future and should be accessible to everyone. It’s why we have developed a way of building that fundamentally rethinks building methods and materials, resulting in high-performance homes that work harder and last longer. It’s part of our commitment to create the most lean, healthy, and resilient spaces possible.

We pledge to design every home:

⩘ Lean

Zero energy homes need to be affordable. We use simple techniques to add value without adding cost. A high-performance home reduces energy, pollution, and dollar costs.

To start, we estimate the carbon impact using life cycle assessment, then balance the equation of site + construction + reuse to design a carbon-neutral lifetime footprint. And, because solar panels can now pay for themselves after only three years, your zero-utility-bill home will start paying back, fast.

⩄ Resilient

New homes need to last 200+ years. Our method uses less wood than traditional framing and offers more long-term flexibility. Not only does it last longer, but our envelope is warmer, drier, and protects the home more completely than any other system in use. We pair this with an elegant structure that goes up faster than standard framing.

By allowing the exterior shell to stand independently from interior walls, our system means your home can live many lives. And it will, with the most robust envelope technology in use today.

⋇ Healthy

All homes need to be free of toxins. We’re committed to using healthy materials and finishes, both inside and out. Our homes rewrite the typical by saying “no” to chemical and biological contaminants: no formaldehyde, no VOCs, no combustion byproducts, and no mold.

We ensure clean indoor air quality by using materials certified by Declare labels and free from the Living Future Red List. We use low-VOC products throughout, whether it’s something you’ll touch every day or never see. We understand how to tune buildings for optimum health, finding a balance between airtightness for energy performance, and ventilation for air quality.

We meet and exceed the standards set by a globally recognized leader in sustainable building, the International Living Future Institute. Every building we design meets either their Zero Energy certification or their Zero Carbon certification. We also exceed the criteria for the Department of Energy’s Zero Energy Ready Homes, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s Energy Star Homes and Renewable Energy Ready Homes. We participate in the EPA’s Indoor airPLUS program, utilize Watersense products, and perform HERS rating tests to ensure a thermally airtight home.

We are meeting the 2030 Challenge, today.