Project Type:Single Family HomeProject Location:Tehachapi, California 93561
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Awards and Acknowledgements:AIA Committee on the Environment:2018 Top TenDesign Features:Net Zero, Off-Grid, Salvaged Materials
15' to Operable Windows:
Set in Californiaâ€™s harsh Mojave Desert, Sawmill offers a new model for the sustainable single-family home. The client brief called for a self-sufficient home that maximized connection between architecture and nature, and between family members inside. The 5,200 SF concrete block, steel and glass home is designed to stand up to the severe climate of the fire-prone Tehachapi Mountains. Demonstrating that high design can also be high performance, Sawmill is a net-zero home that operates completely off the grid.
As a firm, we have long been interested in using architecture to serve as a bridge between humans and nature, but this project takes that ethos even further, showing how projects can actually give back to their sites. The client was an integral part of the design process. He served as general contractor for the construction of the home, actively engineering several of the buildingâ€™s load management systems. We continue to learn from this client, as he has participated in post-occupancy evaluations. In 2017, Sawmill was the recipient of an AIA National Housing Award.
The jury noted of the project: â€śA very well-done cabin which doesnâ€™t seem to be any more than needed as far as size, but offers much more as far as spirit and understanding of the place.â€ť Sawmillâ€™s recent feature in the November/December 2017 issue of Dwell detailed the homeâ€™s sustainability features, bringing our design lessons to a wider audience. We believe that Sawmill stands as a new model for the single-family home. If lessons learned on Sawmill were applied to general building standards for this type of home, it could have a dramatic impact on the energy landscape of the United States.
(Source: AIA COTE 2018, Olson Kundig)