The proposal for 35 Vanguard Way establishes a highly rational plan arrangement augmented with three primary experiential and functional amenities.
The rectangular layout seeks to maximize natural cooling by limiting the width to a single room’s depth and opening the house on both long facades for cross ventilation. The plan also utilizes the existing topography in order to define spaces. The program elements are arranged along a privacy gradient beginning with the most intimate spaces to the east and the increasingly public spaces progressing westward. To strengthen this strategy, the floor plate steps down with the contours in order to provide increasing ceiling heights with increasing publicness. This technique serves to limit the overall building height in an effort to be less conspicuous to its neighbors.
The rational layout is set off first by a proposed green roof. The scheme understands this roof as both an amenity for the inhabitants as well as an energy efficient roof assembly. The green roof, furthermore, contributes to the re-circulating water system of the proposal. Rain water from the roof is directed to a catch-pond at the street side of the house. The filtered water is directed into a reflecting pool running along the southern facade which, as the grade recedes, becomes a plunge pool at the western edge of the house. Surplus water from the system will be stored for irrigation purposes. The mediating element between the house, roof garden and water system is the ramp along the southern facade. The proposal understands the ramp as a fundamentally celebratory solution to descending vertical circulation. The gradual ascent of the ramp also encourages contemplation of the garden and surroundings. The ramp also serves as a strategic shading device which, as it begins its trajectory, permits morning light into the sleeping spaces. As it approaches the roof, the ramp has gained enough elevation to provide shade for the public spaces without hindering views.
The structure of the house is a steel frame with hollow core concrete floor and roof planks. The cores serve as ducts for the ventilation system while the prefabricated planks allow for considerable structural and constructional efficiencies. This final detail serves to underscore the proposal’s key concept as the integration of amenity and utility.