River Place is a pioneer-era vineyard in Idaho that has been restored to cope with summer temperatures that soar to 110°F, a river that often floods during heavy rain, and poisonous rattlesnakes. The Juliaetta site consists of two structures: a residence with guest quarters situated on concrete piers, and a smaller wine tasting and entertainment facility cantilevered 40-feet over the river. Constructed without the use of site welding, the twin buildings can be easily disassembled and removed, leaving only their foundations behind. Learn how Paul F. Hirzel designed this striking hybrid home to cope with its challenging environment.
The main home is situated on concrete piers and hovers above the rushing river with enough lift to sustain up to 500-year flood levels. Supported by a 15-foot deep steel Howe truss system at its center, the structure cantilevers at either end, benefiting from the cooling effect of the river at one, and preventing rattlesnake infestations at the other. The living area itself is comprised of three parts, each a separate building with its own heating and cooling system. Super insulated on all sides and independent of the steel bridge structure, they are connected by an unconditioned corridor and porch that can be opened up as needed for manual temperature and ventilation control.
Sitting roughly 1,000 feet up river from the main structure, the second building is constructed with a steel exoskeleton to cantilever 40-feet over the river. Apart from meeting specific building requirements, this provides a platform for viewing a rare Steelhead spawning pool below. Its overhanging design also accommodates an existing road along the riverbank, ensuring vehicle access was not cut off as a result of the renovation.
In addition to creating a super resilient structures, the scaffolding-like design significantly minimized costs to just $118 per square foot for the main structure, and $147 per square foot for the event space.
Images by © Jim Van Gundy and ©Robert Hutchinson