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OYSTER HOUSE

OYSTER HOUSE

Project Designer, CxMxD 2013
Wellfleet, MA - Add-on'13 Competition 1st Place

Model highlighting roof skylights

The Oyster House sets a new standard for affordable housing in Wellfleet, Cape Cod. Developable property in Cape Cod is at a premium since much of the open space is now protected land. Recognizing this, the Oyster House is smaller, achieving more density with less impact on Cape Cod’s precious and beautiful landscape. It is a study on versatility and adaptability. The house’s pentagonal plan is, in essence, a faceted circle. It has less surface area than an equivalent rectangle or square, but with the same floor area. Less surface area means less heating and cooling loads.

The house at 91 Pine Point Road

At Pine Point Road's single unit precendent, the house is located at the bottom of a gently sloping site. Here, the house is nestled into the hillside, maintaining a friendly distance and insuring unobstructed views for the main house and neighbors. Compactness is offset by generous windows that borrow space from the adjacent landscape. A deck and patio offer ample outdoor living opportunities.

Living space interior

Once inside, rooms radiate from the inside out, borrowing space from the surrounding landscape. Generous openings provide ample light and natural ventilation. Entry into the building occurs on axis with the roof ridgeline. The center “spine” of the building serves as a threshold zone that mediates the experience of passing from one space to the next. These transitions are lit from above via a series of operable skylights. Rooms are arrayed along a concentric path starting with the most public and ending with the most private.

Cluster Axonometric

The Oyster House Community along Route 6 follows the first principles set out in Phase I: live compact and use less. Through aggregation, this case study exemplifies the house’s versatile and adaptable design. Each house contributes to the formation of a protected communal courtyard. The clustering of houses is located towards the front of the site, minimizing the amount of trees felled to make way for construction. This results in a miniature urban ecosystem. Each house and resident collectively contributes to the success of the community.

Two houses connected by a communal platform space

The communal outdoor space is open to multiple uses. Pentagonal platforms are stages for social interaction and can play host to large groups. Material and elevation changes also allow for simultaneous intimate gatherings. Equally comfortable in the dead of winter as it is in the warm summer sun, the house is designed for comfortable community living. Design features like the log wall doubles as a privacy screen, allowing tenants to share resources and maintain privacy.

Model as situated on site

The house’s low slung form minimizes heating and cooling bills. All rooms have access to an adjacent skylight to promote natural cross ventilation. An outdoor deck cascades down the hillside to extend the living space into the landscape and view beyond.


Competition Design Team: Mengyi Fan,

Christopher Lee, Dungjai Pungauthaikan
Photography: Timothy Bell

Model Base Fabrication: Tietz-Baccon

 

 

For more information about the Oyster House,
visit oyster-house.com.