This Kayak House was designed by Ogrydziak/Prillinger Architects for an avid kayaker and his wife. Several years ago, the owners decided to sell their suburban tract home and move to the country, to live on the river. They chose a 4.5 acre site on the South Fork of the American River, overlooking one of the best kayak funs in Northern California. At the time of purchase, this particular lot was the last available empty and developable river site for over ten miles in either direction. Ultimately, the project design arose from an intersection of this spectacular site and the clients' own specific interests in kayaking, durability, ecology, and accessibility.
The house is built as close to the river as code allows (5' above the 100-year floodline). Because the lot is extremely deep and narrow, this siting effectively splits the lot into two landscapes with very different characters - both in terms of terrain and public/private divisions. On the river side, there is a dramatic slope down to the water and back up the foothills across river.
Away from the river, the site is entirely private, with a level meadow extending several miles to the start of the foothills. The project diagram associates a different geometry with either side of the site.
The owners wanted their house to be built to last 100+ years. This meant a dramatic deviation from conventional construction techniques typical of the region, which tend towards conventional wood framing. Instead, the house design employs construction techniques more typically associated with non-residential applications.
Structurally, the house is extremely robust: a steel framework integrated with selected concrete block walls supports exposed metal decking and a metal roof. Interior finishes are similarly durable. Interior walls that are not concrete block are finished with douglas fir plywood; wet location casework is stainless steel (kitchen and bathrooms); and wet location floors and walls are limestone (bathrooms).
:: Project Name: Kayak House
:: Location of Site: Lotus, California, USA
:: Design Team: Collaboration: OPA (Luke Ogrydziak, Zoe Prillinger) and Maria Ogrydziak Architecture
:: Project Type: Single family house
:: Contractor/s: Louis Debret
:: Site Area: 4.5 acres
:: Built-up Area: 6477 sq. ft.
:: Date of completion: August 2007