Earth House

Location Longbranch, Washington
Design Principal Jim Olson

Designed in 1968, this house represents the primal connection between humans and their surroundings, allowing its occupants to be inside and outside at the same time. The owner, former Ambassador to Iceland, desired a house that recalled the sod-roof houses found around Reykjavik. The pool and house are on axis with Mount Rainier, paying homage to a treasured natural monument. The building is cut into the hillside so that the planted roof plane seamlessly joins the building to the surrounding landscape, making the entire dwelling seem like an excavated sanctuary in the natural environment.

I like the idea of the caveman analogy, where you go back into the cave and its dark and you’re one with the earth, then you go out to the edge and you look out over the landscape. The house made me realize how I am connected to nature to my core.

Jim Olson Design Principal

Information

Team

Design Principal

Jim Olson

Awards

1972

Sunset and AIA Western Home Awards, Home Honor Award

Publications

2016

Plockova, Joann. “Nurtured by Nature.” Christie’s International Real Estate – The Outdoor Issue, July-Sept. 2016, 58 – 66. Print.

2004

Holstein, Amara. “Grass Roof Effort.” Dwell Vol. 4 No. 3, Jan. 2004, 70. Print.

Klenak, Danielle V. “Architect inspired by natural, sustainable design.” Key Peninsula News, May 2004, 28. Print. Web.

2000

Wines, James. Green Architecture (Architecture & Design). Cologne: Taschen, May 2000, 161-164. Book.

1994

Canty, Donald. “Earth Cycle.” Progressive Architecture, June 1994, 84-91. Print.

1979

Mills, Dale Douglas. “Pacific Northwest Living.” The Seattle Times, 9 Dec. 1979, 70-79. Print.

1973

“The roof is a lawn.” Sunset, Oct. 1973, 86-87. Print.

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