2019 03 13            Mount Tuam            Schematic Design

We are designing post frame homes that are more affordable than a typical custom build, but that are also quite energy efficient and healthy.

We are patent-pending on the envelope technique we implement, which allows for exposed structure on the interior and should maintain the building for 100+ years by keeping the structure and sheathing warm, dry, and air-tight.

We think this envelope method performs better than anything else being built, and has yet to be otherwise implemented with post frame technology.

Light Study

The walls might look inside-out, but we are using walls that avoid any sort of gypsum wallboard. The studs are laid bare, whitewashed. Atop them is a plywood (formaldehyde-free) and sound clip sandwich to isolate sound transmission between spaces. We love the look of exposed structure done well, along with the light and sound-baffling qualities.

Structural Axonometric

Footprint: 3,600 SF house and 760 SF cottage

Structure: 14' tall posts, 32’ wide trusses, girts & purlins

Materials: concrete, SPF, plywood, mineral wool insulation, corrugated metal roof, cedar rainscreen siding

Ocean View Glass
2018 11 26            Sacred Mountain            Preconstruction

Measures to simplify design:

View from Carport

Remove carport structure.

Replace all steel superstructure with extending awnings.

Replace rammed earth with concrete below 1' and above 9' datums.

View from Conservatory
2018 10 15            HAM            Schematic

Use: Lookout tower, meditation stilt.

Footprint: 24 SF

Products: Galvanized steel heavy-duty crank-up radio tower, wood platform

HAM tower elevation

Really excited about this idea: a pre-engineered, pre-fabricated tower that is trucked to your house and easy to install.

This type of tower is actually telescoping with an electric motor, meaning you could get onto the platform at its low height and have it lift you above the canopy.

2018 08 08            Sacred Mountain            Mockup

Terra Firma Builders to provide two rammed earth color mockups on-site:

1. Similar to the images of Trader Studio in color, variation of color, waviness, and termination of lifts.

2. Color scheme similar to light / middle reds of Vidal Sassoon, with similar variation if the dark red band were eliminated. Vary color from dark base to light top.

Both should include a white cement feature. Experiment with cloudiness of the feature, where lift above / below are integrated into feature lift. The feature should terminate and restart, grow and shrink, and wave as crafted by builder.

Rammed Earth Color Mockups

Looks really good! I personally continue to like the one on the left. The stronger contrasts look nice.

2018 08 02            Sacred Mountain            Construction Documents

Climate zone: 5
Ground snow load: 50psf
Frost line depth: 18"
Termite hazard: Slight
Winter design temperature: 19°F
Annual degree days below 65°F: 3318
Exposure category: C
Annual precipitation: 40"
Moisture index: 1.2
Rain load: 8.4psf

Basement Layout Plan
Ground Floor Layout Plan
Roof Layout Plan

R70 cont. roof, R46 cont. walls, R32 cont. slab
Roof pitch: 3° concrete, 20° sloped glazing

Night view from South

Glazing: 10mm clear tempered; 5/8" air space, argon filled; 6mm clear tempered w/ low-e #3 surface; 5/8" air space, argon filled; 6mm clear tempered / .060 PVB / 6mm clear tempered.
Framing: Raico Therm+ A-I. 50mm box section with 15mm beauty cap. 4 11/16" x 1 15/16".

Section Details at Conservatory
Section Details at Skylight

Coordination: Integrate electronic controls with Home Automation System.
Product: Velux VSE-C01.
Accessories: No blinds, no roller shades.

Night view from South
Kitchen detail plans and elevations

Products: All earth and concrete materials to be manufactured and extracted from within a 300 mile radius of the building site. No products in this section to be on the Living Building Challenge Red List.
Formwork: No tie holes to be permitted. Insulation to be extended beyond the end of the walls where window and door openings are specified.
Finish at wet spaces: Provide anti-fungal, anti-stain sealant at all areas subject to splash.

Kitchen materials rendering
Kitchen sink detail
Step light detail
Night view from East detail
2018 07 18            Old Cluff            Permit
Axonometric: finishes and framing
South side of house
North side of house

Climate zone: 6A
Ground snow load: 50psf
Wind design speed: 100mph
Seismic design category: C
Frost line depth: 48"
Termite hazard: Slight
Winter design temperature: 32°F
Air freezing index: 1,410
Mean annual temperature: 45°F
Exposure category: B

R52 cont. roof, R21 cont. + R11 walls, R22 cont. slab
Roof pitch: 3:12, 9:12 at solar panels

Ground floor plan
View from entry

Must have:

Good-sized, open kitchen with a huge island and seating for four. It would be nice for two people to be able to comfortably cook in the kitchen without bumping into each other.

Floor-to-ceiling windows

Sunny house, especially in the winter

Open concept

Keep old age in mind. We hope to die in this house, so we want it to be able to accommodate us as we age.

Long section
Living area

I absolutely love the design / exterior of the front of the house, and I really don't want to ruin the look by adding an overhang (or whatever you call it). But we are really concerned about how hot the house could get in the late spring / summer / early fall months (and the costs associated with keeping it cool / comfortable) when the sun is high. I don't want to have to keep the curtains closed all summer.

30 year averages: 7,106 heating degree days, 360 cooling degree days (July and August are the only months with more cooling than heating; measured to 65°F).

20 times more heating than cooling.

Maximize insolation; use free cooling in summer.

Supplement with radiant floor heating / cooling.

Cross section
Wet space

Thermal Resistance: Minimum R-4.0 per inch.
Water Vapor Permeance: ASTM E 96, 30.9 perms.
Moisture Resistance: ASTM C 1104 sorption, 0.05%.
Fungi Resistance: ASTM C 1338, zero mold growth.
Compressive Strength: 743 psf at 10%, 1269 psf at 25%.
Product: Roxul ComfortBoard IS.

Metal roof panels: Corrugated steel, sine wave profile, 7/8" high, 20 gauge minimum thickness, galvanized shop-applied finish.
Fasteners: Stainless steel sealed with gasketed washers.

Products: Marvin Integrity Wood-Ultrex Outswing French Door, X and O panels as noted on drawings.
Vertical mull: ½" vertical MRF mull per manufacturer.

Deck at dusk
2018 04 13            Sacred Mountain            Design Development
Site Axonometric

After our talk last Wednesday, I took a step back to really consider a couple issues that you brought up: the way the retaining walls were blocking certain views, the constraints on the ceiling height, and roofs being bermed vs. glass.

View toward entry passage

The resulting plan diverges from what we have seen to this point, but I think that is a good thing. It is much more constructible, elegant, and will put your money in the right places.

Your home is shown on one level. This does a couple things for us:

The low ceiling height at the Music wing is no longer an issue. Ceilings can be as tall as we would like.

Carport and music wing sections

Circulation is now much more wheelchair accessible.

Carport from Music entry

The stair (however cool and fun) would have been a significant expense. Eliminating it saves money and space to put elsewhere.

Conservatory enlarged plan

When you are on the bermed roof above, there will now be much more space for a mossy / rocky terrain.

View into Bedroom at Entry

The connections between building parts are now simpler (and more interesting).

View toward Entry from Bedroom
2018 03 18            Sacred Mountain            Design Development

This site has a distinct and understated character: an echo of its previous state. The goal is to keep it as authentic as possible—truly, site restoration. Mt. Tuam is geologically composed of colluvial and glacial drift, essentially sandy loam and mineral gravel atop hard rock. At 1,450 ft of altitude under marine exposure we find there is hardly much more than trees, lichen, and moss that volunteer here.

Existing plant zones

Three planting zones: larger trees and shrubs for screening, a foreground carpet of natives, and general site restoration and soil stabilization.

Screening: Pinus contorta, Symphoricarpos albus, Arctostaphylos columbiana, Amelanchier alnifolia.

Foreground: Gaultheria shallon, Mahonia nervosa, Vaccinium deliciosum, Pteridium aquiinum, Plystichum munitum, Polypodium hesperium, Arctostaphylos uva-ursi, native grasses.

Restoration: Boulders, sedum, moss, fescue, ryegrass, clover.

Proposed planting zones

Surrounding the building are a few exterior spaces requiring resilient finishes. The front entry will use local precast concrete permeable pavers. Walkways and informal terraces will use boulders and flagstones from the site. A natural swimpond on the south side of the building will cycle water through filtration plants and sandy aggregates in a regeneration zone into a deeper end for summer swimming.

Hardscape and pool materials
2018 02 09            Stand            Schematic

Use: Cabin, accessory dwelling unit.

Footprint: 160 SF

Products: Steel deer stand, Aerogel insulated fabric

Stand in the Morning Fog

A prototype deployable structure for those who enjoy life more with less. Fully insulated envelope without thermal bridges. Three levels. Optional tackle box.

Figuration Sketch
2018 01 29            Sacred Mountain            Design Development

I have put together two options to meet your request to open up the Conservatory with glass both out to the horizon and above to the sky. We can support the glass with timber framing, and incorporate roof vents for summer cooling.

Wood Trellis Option

The first option shades the space with a wood trellis, with quite nice dappled light patterns.

The second option uses exterior roller shades that unfurl only in the heat of the summer afternoons and the cold of winter nights.

Roller blind option

Both capture this view as you enter the house.

View through Conservatory at Entry
2017 12 01            Sacred Mountain            Schematic
Physical Model from South

26" x 18" x 8" physical model showing site topography with embedded architecture.

Scale of 1 : 1000

Physical Model from Above

Two slabs of Cherry laminated and CNC milled by Seattle Art and Industrial.

Digital Model from Above

Photogrammetric scan of the finished model, using pointcloud visualization.

Digital Model from Southeast
2017 12 01            Sacred Mountain            Schematic

After processing through the undulating glacial geology of Salt Spring Island, a visitor winds up a mountain of exposed tholeiitic basalt through thinning evergreen canopy. At the driveway base, a game of peekaboo begins: the driver catches and loses glimpse views as they near the lookout.

Ground Floor Plan

Arriving at the carport, a portal centered on Mount Baker sits just at eye height, framing the horizon.

View towards carport, Mt. Baker through opening
Carport Section

One more moment of compression funnels the visitor past a fern grotto and over a shallow pond—the figurative crevice of this boulder-encrusted site.

Entry Passage with Stair Cylinder
Stair plan and section

The inside reveals a drama of light and material: wood tones and illuminated headers lend soft warmth against the concrete floors.

View within stair
Conservatory Plan

One advances toward the undeniable pull of sky, which fills the Converatory’s glass-enclosed space. High above head, sculpted skylight apertures illuminate the earthy texture and painterly lifts of the rammed earth walls.

Conservatory from Southeast
Conservatory Interior
Conservatory Sections

A daily cycle at this home involves a bit of nomadism. Rising in the bedroom wing to a panorama of the San Juan Islands, one finds comfort in the rammed earth-wrapped bathroom and wood-panelled dressing area.

Bedroom Skylight

Passing by the exercise room and salt cave, one enters the Living wing. The Conservatory forms the heart of this space with a variety of furniture types, and close adjacency to the pantry and galley kitchen.

Passage to Bedroom

As work beckons, one moves to the Music wing: home to three cats, one bird, and koi. His and hers office spaces neighbor each other and require radically different sonic and light performance.

Entry Passage with Office Above
Office and pool section

As night falls, one can enjoy a 180° skydome sunset from any wing, from the pool, or from the mossy bed atop the nearby guest cottage cottage roof.

View from pool
2017 10 23            Sacred Mountain            Schematic

Perched high on glacially-sculpted rock, the site reveals a sweeping view of the British Columbia's southern gulf islands and at least three distant mainland volcanoes.

Axonometric Site Layout

The landscape will retain its character of low shrubs, grasses, and mosses dotting the boulder-strewn slopes.

Site Layout from South

The building itself will appear to blend into the site with bermed roofs punctuated by custom-formed concrete skylights clad with weathering wood.

E-W Site Section

Only the entrance passageway will cut the land, leading to a sequence of jogs and reveals.

View From North
Entry Passage Sketch

The tectonics will be clear and resilient—no extraneous layers. Rammed earth, concrete, steel, and glass will amass a durable shell, while touches of wood and steel will finish the interior.

View toward Entry Passage

As a retreat from noise and pollution, this will be a toxin-free and health-conscious residence.

View toward main entrance

The building’s bermed masses will display the adjacencies of living spaces: one mass for working and playing, one for living and eating, and one for sleeping.

Site view from East
2017 09 25            Sacred Mountain            Schematic

The primary ambition of the design has been to disappear into the landscape as much as possible. Some parts have been bermed, while others have been conceptualized as greenhouse-like spaces that sit lightly above the ground.

Tectonics Sketch

The program has been portioned into seven independent spaces: the Conservatory, Bedroom, Kitchen, Stair, Music, Exercise, and Guest Cottage.

Ground Floor Sketch

While somewhat unorthodox, this strategy is intended to:

1. Allow for changing site conditions. As construction commences and we discover the exact condition and location of bedrock, it would be prudent to avoid blasting where possible. Each space can shift to allow a lighter touch on the site without affecting the entire project / documentation.

2. Provide structural independence and logical breaks for seismic isolation. Small subterranean structures perform quite well in seismic events.

3. Allow for varying, specific views. Because the spaces can each rotate independently, we can fine-tune each view (and get that perfect shot of Mt. Baker).

4. Create significant separation between uses. Spaces can be isolated in terms of noise, odor, and guests. They can also be shut down to conserve energy.

5. Provide opportunities to stage construction.

Second Floor Sketch
2017 09 10            Old Cluff            Prompt

Location: 43.41° N, 70.48° W
Kennebunkport, ME

Use: Full-time Home

Lot Size: 3.04 acres

Target Footprint: 1,200 SF

Design Duration: 2 months

First Plan

Dimensions of the house are 65'-6" x 18'-4" (approximately 1,210 SF gross ground floor). Garage is 26'-6" x 24'-10". Basement is assumed to be under entire house footprint.

The plan is oriented with North up. The south window wall will need to be developed when we determine materials (stopped-in glass, polycarbonate, framed window). The north wall will have smaller windows above head height at intervals along the length of the wall.

Framing is laid out for advanced framing techniques to use less lumber (24" on center rather than 16").

The roof extends from the house to the garage, creating an exterior deck. An compluvium-like opening in the roof could bring more light into that dogtrot space.

2017 08 22            Sacred Mountain            Programming

(GOALS: tactics)

TO BE HEALTHY: no red list materials, low VOC

TO BE RESILIENT: rammed earth, concrete, steel, wood, native volunteer plants

TO BE WARM & LIGHT: view alignments, curtain wall, sloped glazing, mass walls

TO BE PASSIVE: thermal mass, thermal breaks, continuous insulation, triple-glazed low-e argon-filled, deployable shades

TO BE INTEGRATED: bermed within rock site, local materials, site restoration

Program Layout
2017 05 25            Sacred Mountain            Climate Studies

Three studies indicating the weather conditions on site, based on hourly weather reports from the nearest weather station (Victoria International Airport).




Daytime summer wind is predominantly from the East, meaning we can orient passive cooling to that face. Cold nighttime winter wind seems to mostly come from the West, so we should make sure to insulate and minimize openings on that face.

2017 04 23            Sacred Mountain            Prompt

Location: 48.74° N, 123.46° W
Salt Spring Island, BC

Use: Full-time Home

Lot Size: 7.65 acres

Target Footprint: 5,000 SF

Design Duration: 11 months

First Sketch

“Attaching a 2 minute sketch here. I am getting excited about the interconnected living spaces you have described, and am thinking about ways to best conceptualize this spatially.

A first thought is to elevate a series of south-facing glass structures that contain all living spaces that require light and views. Bermed (to take thermal advantage of the earth) would be spaces...that need less light. The idea would be to...let the small glass spaces sit quietly on the land without overwhelming.”

2016 11 02            About            BADHOUSE

We are two architects working to build the leanest, most resilient spaces possible. No magic, no fuss.

What if your house already exists, but it just doesn't look like a house?

Can Home

What if your house has a sheddable coat—tailored, continuous, compostable?

Banana Peel Home

What if your house has a life on its own, at scales of time and space unimaginable?

Elephant Foot Home

What if every house is a badhouse?

We propose we admit what architecture cannot do, and move on.

Rather than serving a single-use, customized program, let's build a good building and let life fill it.

Rather than mutating the shape of a house to match preconceived notions of 'architecture,' let's find beauty in its inherent functionality.

Rather than forcing the house to be a complex machine for living, let's use the house as a husk we can live in, grow with, and understand.

Let's build better.

1987 06 27            About            Mark Keller

Howdy, my name is Mark Keller. I am a registered architect, pretending not to be a dreamer. With experience in residential and hospitality design, I've also tried my hand as a bike mechanic, a bridge abutment builder, and a digital ornithologist.

I don't let on that my background is in computers, math, and science, and I try to suppress this when engaging more philosophical pursuits in design. I enjoy using my hands to sketch and build, always looking to translate to the digital world of coding, modeling, rendering, et cetera.

I feel a deep urgency to my work. The goal is to develop rapidly deployable, resilient, and affordable homes—with a little fun sprinkled in.

EDUCATION: B.S.Arch., University of Virginia. M.Arch., University of Michigan.

SPIRIT ANIMAL: Mountain Goat

PAST EMPLOYERS: Olson Kundig, Roman & Williams

REGISTERED: Washington, Michigan, British Columbia


FOOD: Bread

WEBSITE: mwkeller.com

1986 07 24            About            Annie Aldrich

Hiya, my name is Annie Aldrich. I'm a registered architect with a bad habit of getting stuff done. I have experience designing residential, retail, and hospitality spaces, and I am also a landscape designer of urban parks and plazas. While I love a good meal on plush cushions, I am always yearning to go run up a hill.

My joy in design comes in the synthesis of human and material considerations. The sociology of an interaction, the geology of a region, and the tectonic of material systems all come together in architecture. This complex junction creates a window to the world, a window I typically want to climb out of.

I am driven to pursue designs that are reasonable, balanced, prudent and frugal—to me the definition of problem-solving solutions.

EDUCATION: B.Arch. with Honors, California College of the Arts


PAST EMPLOYERS: Olson Kundig, Gustafson Guthrie Nichol, Melk, Openshop

FOOD: Finely-chopped

REGISTERED: Washington State

NICKNAMES: Banana, Half-pump

WEBSITE: annelise.info

Logo animation by Lauren Aldrich