This design takes advantage of the “DADU” or Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit zoning implemented in the city of Seattle. Called “The Madrone Cottage,” this backyard cottage is designed to provide a comfortable, stylish living space for an urban couple, while simultaneously meeting the prefabrication, sustainability, regional context and affordability clauses of the DADU zoning.
The Madrone Cottage is made of two prefabricated units that meet Washington State highway dimensional standards and are shipped in a single delivery. The rainscreen facade, rainwater cistern, utility closet, and carport are built on site.
The Cottage design connects its inhabitants to the unique Pacific Northwest ecosystem that sustains the Cottage as it does the Madrone tree. Shed roofs draw rainwater to a cistern, supplying water for the residents' heating and wastewater needs. Abundant glazing brings daylight inside, reducing energy usage. Opening the upper and lower French doors encourages natural stack ventilation. Meanwhile, south-facing solar panels on the roof satisfy most of the residents' electricity needs. A bike-port sits alongside the car-port. The design calls for natural, non-toxic, and renewable materials and finishes throughout.
In terms of regional context, the Cottage draws on the work of Pietro Belluschi, John Yeon, Lionel Pries, and other local modernists who used natural materials and wide expanses of glazing to adapt their houses to the particular landscape and light conditions in the Pacific Northwest. Made from Local FSC-certified cedar siding, the rainscreen façade cloaks the Cottage in a reddish brown stain matching the Madrone tree's trunk.
Crucially, the Cottage provides a comfortable urban living space for one person or a couple with a baby in a compact 722 square feet. Even with the initial outlay for the solar panels, gray-water system, and cistern, the life-cycle costs of this building will be lower than conventional construction.