Lake Flato Porch House

Porch House by Lake Flato

The Porch House by Lake|Flato Architects presents a unique way of thinking, designing and building a residential house. Based on a library of pre-designed, modular living and sleeping rooms, the Porch House concept enables a design-conscious owner to have a custom, site-specific, and LEED certified Lake|Flato house delivered with an efficient and predictable process.

Porches and other outdoor areas, built on-site, serve as connecting tissue to create exciting outdoor spaces and ensure each house is particular to its place.

The pre-designed, modular rooms can be configured in myriad ways: linear, stacking, creating courtyards, or just a lone form.

Porches and other outdoor spaces such as breezeways, terraces, and carports serve as the connecting tissue that hold individual living and sleeping rooms together and ensure each Porch House is particular to its place.

The site-built porches are relatively inexpensive spaces to both build and maintain (no heating and air conditioning). By showcasing the structural elements of roof construction and exterior walls, porches create a nice textured and volumetric contrast with the simpler spatial experience of the adjacent rooms.

Unconditioned porches are critical aspects of the overall sustainable design strategy and allow each Porch House to adapt to the climate. They create additional shade, foster cross ventilation, and most importantly, provide pleasant and exciting spaces that maximize the connection with the outdoors.

porch houses
© Lake|Flato Architects

“Site-built porches”, like glass breezeways and interior hallways, allow rooms to be connected within a “conditioned” environment while maintaining a connection with the outdoors.

The site built porches are relatively inexpensive spaces to both build and maintain (no heating and air conditioning). By showcasing the structural elements of roof construction and exterior walls, porches create a nice textured and volumetric contrast with the simpler spatial experience of the adjacent rooms.

Unconditioned porches are critical aspects of the overall sustainable design strategy and allow each Porch House to adapt to the climate. They create additional shade, foster cross ventilation, and most importantly, provide pleasant and exciting spaces that maximize the connection with the outdoors.

“Site-built porches”, like glass breezeways and interior hallways, allow rooms to be connected within a “conditioned” environment while maintaining a connection with the outdoors.

The Build Process

With a uniquely adaptable design and construction process, the Porch House enables its inhabitants to be a partner with the environment, in a house shaped by the climate and place, where the landscape and rooms are a unified whole.

It is born from the simplicity of vernacular architecture and leverages years of experience in terms of good design, quality, sustainability, and practicality.

1. Design

Concept

Understanding how a building interacts with the building site and environment has always been a staple of Lake|Flato’s work.

The first step is site analysis discussions and initial room configurations based on the owner’s requirements.

Schematic

The design process focuses on the configuration of modular rooms, material selections, porches, and other outdoor spaces on the site.

Design recommendations and a preliminary project budget are presented.

Document Production

Based on design and budget approval, construction documents are finalized. Energy models are developed to forecast energy savings features.

A dedication to the principles of sustainable design and LEED certification is a primary goal.

2. Construction

Site / Factory Production

The process is similar for both factory and site built Porch House projects.

Permits applications are in and the on-site construction phase process is ready to get started.

Delivery

Once the permits are finalized, site preparation begins followed by construction or fabrication of the modules and construction of the connecting tissue of porches and other site specific structures.

Site History

Located on a ranch in Central Texas, the Miller family wanted to build an easily maintained weekend house for friends and family that would celebrate the outdoors. The rooms, a master bedroom connected to the living area via a “dog run” breezeway and separate guest bedrooms and carport, are arranged to take advantage of the expansive views while creating a protected courtyard within the compound.

A one room-wide configuration, with an east-west axis and generous overhangs, maximizes daylighting and views while keeping the sun at bay.

The generous ten-foot tall operable windows and doors, porches and breezeways allow the rooms to take advantage of the cool coastal breezes during pleasant times of the year.

The overall composition of the house, with room-to-room circulation on the porches, maximizes the connection to the outdoors and achieves an energy-efficient design.

The exterior materials of the house were selected for low maintenance: corrugated, galvanized metal on the exterior walls that are exposed to the weather, with local cedar on the protected porches.

Sustainability

The modular design process, where rooms are constructed in multiples, has allowed Lake|Flato to test and refine our product with the ultimate goal of simplicity, beauty and sustainability. Combined with the site-built porch elements, the Porch House is designed to earn LEED certification.

With the addition of solar panels clients can choose to have a net zero energy consumption house.

High efficiency mechanical systems, water saving features, natural ventilation systems with operable doors and windows, low embodied energy materials, healthy materials, daylighting, energy efficient LED lighting, and an overall “passive design” to the entire Porch House all work together to create a highly efficient house.

Project Costs

The pre-designed modular rooms are arranged on the site to take advantage of views, breeze, solar orientation, and outdoor spaces.

The custom-designed site-built “porch elements”, such as breezeways, porches, overhangs, and carports are the “connecting tissue” which holds the rooms together while allowing the overall design to adapt to the unique characteristics of the site, the weather and the client’s program.

Current projections for hard building cost range around $240-280 per square foot.

A Porch House can be designed as “net zero build” with the addition of solar panels. Expected time from design approval to move in is 6-9 months.

If you would like to build your own eco-friendly, modular porch house please contact Lake|Flato Architects at LakeFlato.com or call  (210)-227-3335.

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