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UNLV Libraries -> Architecture Studies Library -> Las Vegas Guides and Collections ->
AIA Nevada Design & Service Awards Archive -> 2009 awards -> Aquila Che Salire


Entry number: B09047
Project Name: Aquila Che Salire
Building Type: Residential, New Single Family Dwelling
Completion Date: Summer 2009
Building Location: Reno, NV
Type of Construction:
Conventionally framed wood framed structure with steel moment frames.
Materials Used: Off-the-shelf materials: stained board-formed concrete base (utilizing wood framing as a permanent interior form), sage colored plaster towers, deep stained beveled redwood siding, corten steel roofing, zinc colored “cool” standing seam roofing, custom curved glu-laminated roof framing, and various steel accents.
Building Area: 6,105 sf new single family dwelling with 1,528 sf garage

Design Team:
Architecture Firm: JLS Design
Architect of Record: Joel Sherman
Dario Michael Passalalpi
Interior Designer: Dario Michael Passalalpi
Landscape Architect: Dario Michael Passalalpi
Structural Engineer: Gabbart & Woods Structural Buildings
Mechanical Engineer: Woods Energy Consultants
Civil Engineer: Marv Hamrick, Gray & Associates
General Contractor: Dario Michael Passalalpi, DMP Contractors
Photographer: Joel Sherman

Statement of Design Approach:
Design the house to the land, rather than the land to the house! Allow he native physical landscape, the program, and client to shape the residential solution rather than common images of “fabricated nostalgia” (i.e. Tuscan Villas or French provincial) that dominate the surrounding upper class neighborhood.

• Step the project in cross section to the natural topography
• Align the massing of the project in plan to the optimum use of the natural topography.
• Provide for a shaded / protected human scale on the southern uphill portion (private area), while letting the northern downhill portion of the structure (the public space) spring from its perch on the hill.
• Forms inspired from the soaring birds of prey in the adjacent national forest to the sage covered slopes, and lichen covered volcanic tuft which surround the property.
• Strive to address the varying environmental factors: harsh southern sun exposure, serious prevailing south west winds, dynamic upslope constraints, and finally spectacular northeastern panoramic city views significantly influence the physical solution.
Addressing the transition zone between the city of Reno and the National Forest.
• Dual personality (private on the south, while very public on the north)
• Hunkering down and subtly achieving protection from the elements on the south (uphill) side, while proudly pounding its chest and announcing its presence on the north.
Influenced by historic regional forms such as mineshafts emerging from a distant hillside

Poised like a sentry overlooking the transition zone boarding the Toiyabe National Forest to the south, and downtown Reno to the northeast, the Aquila Che Salire (Soaring Eagle) residence, emerges from its perch. The abundance of rust colored volcanic tuft covered with lichen, a sage covered dramatic uphill slope, dotted with native Juniper’s, generates the site specific palette of stained board-formed concrete base (similar to volcanic tuft), sage colored plaster towers, deep stained redwood beveled siding, with cor-ten steel roofs and detailing.

The lofty location of the site, on one of the highest properties in the “Eaglenest” development, gazing over the Truckee River corridor to the north, and out to a spectacular view of Pevine Mtn. in the northwest, along with the Italian born owner, lead to the Eagle metaphor. Due to the steep uphill nature of the lot, the design transitions from a very entrenched and grounded design (lending itself to elegant indoor / outdoor living and flow) on the south side, to a floating north elevation, just waiting to launch itself into the updrafts of the hillside. The form and function result from the owner’s desire to infuse a level of organic integrity into this dynamic and challenging upslope property.

Sustainable Description:
Fusing the project with the landscape:

• Design the house to the land rather than the land to the house.
• Prevalent to the area, is to plateau the steep hillside and build a new home on the flattened property. Instead we stepped up the hill in conjunction with the natural topography, rather than obliterating it.
• Secondly, articulation of the plan (breaking the main east-west rectangular bar form in plan to match the nature topography of the site) works with the hillside rather than against it.

• First and foremost, the wealth of daylighting employed on this project brings the structure alive. Throughout the day, spaces transition and evolve as the natural light tracks through.
• Abundance of clerestories provide shared or direct natural light at every room except the garage.
• Internal clerestories above most interior doors and at a number of non-bearing partition walls facilitate shared natural lighting in even the most remote rooms.
• The skylight above the stairwell acts as a vertical beacon tying the horizontal spaces together.

Stack Effect: (natural convection)
• Cold and hot air dropping and raising up the face of the Sierra Nevada Mountains can be fully utilized as needed for natural convection and climate control throughout the house.
• Employing centuries old methods of cooling, the main vertical shaft of the project, the stairwell, is capped with an operable skylight inducing the summer heat to rise through the home, while the water feature / grotto in the basement-entry level of the stairwell draws in the lower cool air.

Scaling the project to the adjacent hillside & neighborhood:
• The arching roof forms scale the project on the north façade to be perceived as a 2 story rather than a 3 story residence on an upslope property, while simultaneously allowing the south elevation to capture natural light as desired.
• An abundance of material and volumetric variety further breaks down the scale of such a large residence. However, a consistent material and detailing language holds the project together.

Sustainable roofing choices:
• A “living” roof is employed over the southeast facing breakfast nook, establishing a garden / green space off of the upper “Teen Room” while giving a sense of grounding
• Cool Roof: Zinc colored “cool roof” incorporated at the largest arched roof element
South & West elevation passive shading elements:
• Deep arching and horizontal blade roof overhangs on the south and west elevations prohibit the steep summer sun from beating down, while at the same time allowing the shallow winter sun to penetrate deep into the structure.
• Tube steel Vierendeel Truss blades breaking down the vertical scale of the structure, and providing an opportunity for seasonal canvas shading frameworks as well.

High efficiency soy based sprayed-in insulation:
• Full cavity sprayed-in insulation at the curved roofs alleviates the need for venting
• Sprayed-in insulation at exterior walls

Solar Photovoltaic mats:
• The south facing roof to incorporate solar photovoltaic mats within the vertical standing seams.

Passive geo-exchange wine cellar:
• The west wing wine cellar @ rotunda with passive geo-exchange cooling.

Use of FSC Certified Lumber & Maximum use of engineered lumber

Use of Low VOC paints

High efficiency / High Velocity HVAC:
• Utilization of UNICO Small duct high velocity HVAC system. More effective due to register placement flexibility



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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 10:50:06 PST