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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
   AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2007 awards -> Colton Residence

       NEVADA AIA DESIGN AWARDS 2007        


Entry number: B07026
Project Name: Colton Residence
Location: Reno, NV
Building Type: Single Family Residence
Completion Date: Fall 2004
Architect:  studio a/d

Sustainable Description

Design Team:
Architect: studio a/d
General Contractor: Bigotti Bros.
Interior Designer: studio a/d
Landscape Architect: studio a/d
Photographer: studio a/d
Structural Engineer: Forbes - Dunagan

Narrative/Project Description:

The site is a rural pasture with restrictive design guidelines imposed by the neighboring developer’s residence. Any landscape over eight feet tall was prohibited to preserve a view corridor. Prevailing winds are from the south, consistently coming from the Sierra foothills. Views are south to the Sierras.

The site strategy transforms the formerly unprotected and exposed pasture into a protective, private residential landscape of berms and sunken living areas.

Rainwater harvesting roofs, rake walls, rain chains, and cisterns collect and store water that irrigates the xeric and revegetated natural landscape. Passive ventilation, daylighting and fenestration strategies are employed to deal with the high desert extremes of cold winters, hot summers, wide diurnal temperature swings, and persistent winds.

The design seeks to create spaces and forms that capitalize on a very limited budget through the use of simple details and methods. The principal gestures of raking walls, central convective chimney, and roofs symbolize their functional attributes, while providing a dynamic silhouette that points to the southern sky and Sierras.

Sustainability Description:


  • Re-vegetation of native plant regimes at site perimeter
  • Use of primarily xeric plant regimes
  • Concentration of higher water use turf areas in smaller, useful areas adjacent to main living areas
  • Use of landscape berming to mitigate constant winds, as well as to foreground views and provide privacy
  • Rainwater harvesting cisterns fashioned from re-purposed sewer-component ‘seconds’ re-distribute rainfall to irrigate xeric landscaping
  • Earth-sheltered northern exposures

Site Planning

  • Orientation
    • Primary axis of building is oriented 15 degrees east of south to provide a much needed kick-start to the passive heating cycle on cold winter days
  • Site zoning

More frequently used outdoor areas are located on the leeward side of the structure and/or beams from the wind (which is a constant nuisance)

  • Tensile shade structure over outdoor living room, on the northern, leeward side of the structure, is removable to welcome heat gain on cooler days, and provides shelter from the winds and elements on marginal days effectively extending the outdoor season

Planning/Formal Vocabulary

  • Convective chimney with strategically placed vents and an air-to-air energy recovery ventilator is located centrally in the open plan for effective passive ventilation
  • Private spaces are distributed into distinct zones to allow for transitory use and efficient mechanical zoning, while extending them into the site for maximum daylighting and ventilation benefits
  • Deep, overhanging southern loggias with light-colored ‘Smart Roof’ membrane roofing protect heavy thermal mass pavers from excessive solar heat gain during summer months
  • Heavy thermal mass pavers collect and re-radiate heat from low azimuth winter sunlight
  • Rainwater-harvesting roofs, rake walls, rain chains, and underground irrigation cisterns
  • Fenestration design

-deep crenellations and overhangs protect the large amounts of glass from excessive summer heat gain while allowing carefully modulated natural light deep into the interiors
-strategically located fins, a trellised loggia, and ‘eyebrows’ protect glazing from the sweeping western sun


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Material in ASL Library: Form Core Boards, Project Description Form, Exteriors Photos, Location Map, Site Plan, Floor Plan, and Interior Photos

These images are low-resolution reproductions of the images provided for the AIA Nevada Design Awards. All materials should be considered copyrighted and may not be reproduced or used without permission.

Monday, 17-Dec-2012 10:50:02 PST