A site holds so much promise when there is nothing more than a timber or steel frame. It is a jungle gym, a relic, and a skeleton full of play and imagination. Often it is when a building is at its most beautiful.
Cut Paw Paw is a structure that is deliberately incomplete. Derek and Michelle, the owners, asked that the house be 'ridiculously inside-out'. To accomplish this we not only employed tested and successful ideas such as sliding walls, bifold doors and decks, we also left the building incomplete. The central space, between the dining area and the studio, is an unclad frame within and surrounded by garden. It is both inside and outside. It is both a new building and an old ruin. It is both garden and home.
Like all of our building, sustainability is at the core of Cut Paw Paw. Rather than simply extruding the existing structure we have run the new form along the southern boundary so that it is soaked in sunlight. The openings and windows have been designed to optimize passive solar gain, thereby drastically reducing demands on mechanical heating and cooling. All windows are double glazed. White roofs drastically reduce urban heat sink and demands on air conditioning. We have a pond on the face of the larges north facing opening. While providing a home for fish and plants, the pond also serve as a mechanism to passively cool the house through natural evaporative cooling. Water tanks and solar panels have their place as they do on all of our projects. High performance insulation is everywhere, even in the walls of the original house.