House on Stilts | Christian Arnold | Kansas City, Missouri
In a leafy residential area a few miles from downtown Kansas City, Missouri, an enterprising architect saw opportunity where others saw trouble. He took a sloping, triangular lot and designed a new home for his growing family—an open, tree house–like structure on stilts that hovers at the quirky edge of a conventional neighborhood.
A primary goal of the project was to keep the process and the house itself as green as possible—–to “touch the earth lightly,” as Australian architect Glenn Murcutt famously says. Despite the sloping lot, no dirt was added to the site, minimizing the need to bring in exhaust-spewing trucks during the construction. Trees were left in place, providing shade for the hot summers but allowing warm sunlight indoors in the winter once the leaves have fallen. The Arnolds chose long-lasting materials like slate tiles for the house’s exterior and a recycled metal roof with an estimated 50-year life span. The construction itself yielded some materials, like extra rebar from the foundation now used as railings.
With tall windows on all sides of the house, the Arnolds worried that heating and cooling bills would be very expensive, but a radiant floor heating system, along with natural light and a much-used fireplace, have kept costs down. “We haven’t changed a lightbulb since we’ve been here,” Julie notes, nearly a year after moving in.......