Tripartite house wins Residential Stone Design Award at Coverings

Darren Kincaid - Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Set on a busy street in a transitional neighborhood this project helps define a new standard for urban infill with a home that reflects design innovation, quality, authenticity and sustainability. The home is divided into three stacked zones addressing the divisions of public and private space: Tripartite House. The first floor extends outward engaging views in the public realm with large expanses of glass as infill between cast in place concrete walls. The second floor utilizes solid forms focused inward to private spaces and screened views such as the zinc clad cantilevered volume that floats above the entry. The third floor opens upward to capture rooftop views where occupants enjoy the evening skyline and sunset above the fray.

Materiality is essential to the design, creating an ethereal mood and experience throughout the space. The minimalist style and clean lines create a calming spa like environment and feeling of luxury. The notion of simplicity however, is complex in execution as every joint and transition needs to line up with perfect accuracy. The team solved this challenge and was able to coordinate precision across multiple trades with a Design-Build approach and integration of BIM technology where every material was accurately modeled in 3D and verified in the field throughout construction. For example, the stone layout in the master shower involved understanding the true dimension of wall framing, backer board, and material thickness to ensure that the grout joints perfecting aligned with plumbing elements, the linear drain, window heights and the joints that continue through the flooring beyond. Based on the BIM technology 3D model a detailed material cut list was coordinated with the quarry and the material was cut to order to minimize waste.

The primary design feature is the use of natural stone, Italian Pietra Forte Fiorentina, chosen for its warm gray tones and consistency. Flecks of mica in the stone add a subtle sparkle and luxurious quality. A special “silk” finish was applied to the surfaces added a tactile sensation of softness to a material that is hard in nature. Used throughout the home, the stone creates a cohesive design experience. This starts with the bridge element approaching the front door and is carried inside to accent the fireplace hearth, the kitchen counter, the stair treads, and the bathrooms throughout the home. Ancillary accent tile was used alongside the natural stone in secondary areas including Mutina folded porcelain tile, custom-colored American made artisan tile in the kids baths and glass mosaic tile in the guest baths. Careful attention to material selection in the design and detailing of the installation adds beauty simplicity, authenticity and luxury to this home.

Sustainability was a key priority. The home includes high performance insulation and AC system, low flow plumbing, and a rainwater collection system connected to a pond and bio-filtration feature at the entry designed to meet the site’s entire irrigation demand. Glazing features a hydrophilic nanocoating with self-cleaning properties. Long term durability and appropriate use of materials is a key factor in sustainability, leading to the selection of natural stone. Although the material was sourced from Italy the energy in transportation via sea freight to the port of Houston was less than typical ground transportation from either West or East coast to the central region, saving over 4 million BTU of energy per ton. By arranging shipping directing the Design-Build team was able to control the carbon emissions that were utilized in this process. Another innovative approach to sustainability was the utilization of BIM technology to accurately model the material and create a detailed cut list that was used by the quarry. This helped minimize jobsite waste, reduce transportation costs, and minimize onsite dust in the cutting process to improve indoor air quality. Additional attributes of natural stone as a material that is non-toxic, recyclable and of an enduring life-cycle enhance the sustainable aspects of the project.