North Beach Residence by Heliotrope Architects

North Beach Residence is a project designed by Heliotrope Architects. This 2,400-square-foot family getaway, located on a northwesterly oriented beach in the San Juan Island archipelago, faces the Strait of Georgia to provide incredible views. Photography by Sean Airhart


The site includes second-growth Douglas firs, a beech grove and a grassy meadow with good solar exposure. The design briefcalled for a low-impact, easy-to-maintainsummer home thatsatisfied the rudiments of livingwhile offering few distractions from the surrounding landscape. The structure, set amidst mature fir trees,is located directly between the beach and an upland meadow with walls of glass open to both. Steel columns minimize the visible structure from the interior, and metal-clad walls provide a bold form when seen from the exterior. Flood-plain and archeological conditions necessitated a design approach that elevated the living areas while letting the building rest lightly on the land. The roof is vegetated, filtering rainwater that is then collected and stored for irrigation. Potable hot water and hydronic heating are aided by solar collectors on the roof while photovoltaic panels above the vegetable garden provide supplemental electricity. The home is intended for occupancy from May through October with systems designed to zero out electricity use over the course of a full year.

Architecture and Interior Design: Heliotrope Architects
Contractor: David Shore
Location: Orcas Island, Washington

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