Green Inspired Home with Views of Folsom Lake

2nd living unit • garage

Property description

The Shipwreck House:
Located on the shores of beautiful Folsom Lake near Sacramento CA, with spectacular lake and mountain views. This house pushes the limit of green technology using architecturally incorporated dual axis tracking arrays affording a nearly 40% increase in efficiency to the 5KW grid tied power generating/storing system.

Direct gain passive solar heating with 128’+ of window wall, constructed with German-made 9’x4′ fixed windows in combination with identical 9’x4′ tilt/turn ‘windoors’ for a seamless appearance. DIrect gain is mitigated by a ten inch thick structural cantilevered concrete slab.

The lower level plan, 128+’ x 25+’, which houses the public functions of the house as well as the Master Bedroom, is as open as possible: the partitions that exist are held to the North side and are at seven feet in height, allowing the roof structure (cable-suspended, twisting, fluted steel deck over glu-lam rafters and seprentine ‘valley’ beam) to be a very dynamic and fluid feature, viewable without obstruction from anywhere inside the house at that level.

The general lighting for the lower level works in concert with the serpentine twisting roof form.

Twice per year the roof performs a solar trick unique in all the world where the normally serpentine profiled shadow-line of the South roof overhang becomes a perfectly straight line across the 128’+ feet of unobstructed South window wall for a moment in time before it warps into a serpentine shadow for six more months. (see Architectural Concept below for more info)

The butterfly roof profile facilitates water collection and the house is piped and ready for bladder tank rain-water storage. Transparent 6″ dia. PVC interior drains at the kitchen and den, plus two additional exterior 4″ dia. clear PVC drains, highlight this feature.

5KW dual axis tracking photovoltaic arrays for a 38% increase in production at this latitude over a fixed roof-mounted system.

24V DC lighting, 24V refrigeration, 24V on-demand water pressure and 24V space cooling maximize the efficiency of the system by eliminating the need for inverting power to AC which ultimately taxes the power production by approximately 30%.

The house is currently grid-interconnected and selling power every sunny day with an annual credit balance.

Custom made crescent shaped stainless steel kitchen with built-in sink, and 5 built in burners with grates set flush to the counter-top surface for safe handling of large pots. This built in cook-top is unique in all the world.

Years in the making this is a house unlike any on the planet.


Home Features

  • The Shipwreck House
  • Architects: Border Studios Architecture, Martin Tarafdar, Architect
  • Location: Folsom Lake, Newcastle, CA
  • Project Manager: Martin Tarafdar
  • Structural Engineer: KNE Assoc Reno, NV, Kirk Ellis SE
  • Mechanical Engineers: Melas2 Engineering, Grass Valley, CA Michael Melas ME
  • Builder: Martin Tarafdar
  • Project start: 2006, estimated completion: Spring 2015.
  • Project Description:
  • This project is located in an ‘Urban Wild-land Interface Zone’ and as such must be constructed of non-combustible materials.
  • Main Residence:
  • 3802 sq. ft. 3 bedroom, 3 bath. 1782 sq. ft. cable suspended deck/lap pool and spa at main level.
  • 80 sq, ft. deck at ‘tree house’ level.
  • Floor: Custom water-base stained 10” thick structural cantilevered concrete slab floor over twin steel cantilevered girders on 40” dia. concrete piers.
  • Walls: All steel wall framing with all steel lateral bracing (no plywood shear walls) with cementicious fiber-board (Hardee Panel) and Zinc-Alum plated corrugated steel siding inside and out. (no drywall)
  • Ceiling: 12” x 5” exposed glu-laminated beam on exposed, cable suspendeded, serpentine steel valley’ I-beam, supporting exposed 1.5″ fluted structural steel deck.
  • Detached Guest-house:
  • 633 sq. ft. with full Bath and 320sq. ft. cantilevered deck on grade.
  • Floor: Custom stained 4” fully insulated concrete slab on grade.
  • Walls: Exposed, internally insulated, reinforced ‘Durisol” masonry.
  • Ceiling: Exposed 12” steel I-beams at 4’ centers and exposed fluted steel deck.
  • Detached 3 Car Garage:
  • 876 sq. ft.
  • Floor: 4” slab on grade.
  • Walls: Cast in place, reinforced concrete and ‘Durisol’ masonry.
  • Ceiling: Exposed 12” steel I-beams at 4’ centers and exposed fluted steel deck.
  • Aluminum framed glass overhead doors.Interior access to guesthouse.
  • Ten minutes to shopping yet remotely located with spectacular panoramic preserved views of Folsom Lake.Compound curving, twisting roofline which performs an solar trick unique in the entire world: Please read about it in the Architectural Concept below.
  • Passive solar design with ample thermal mass (10” thick structural concrete slab at Main residence and 12” thick masonry walls/4” thick concrete slab floor at guest-house) for optimal heat retention/mediation.
  • Grid interconnected, 5 KW electric generating facility with dual axis tracking photovoltaic arrays and off-grid capability (battery backup for never-out power).
  • 24 Volt lighting throughout.
  • 24 Volt refrigerators.
  • 24 Volt space cooling.
  • 24 volt on-demand water pumps.
  • Drawbridge which rises to secure entry.
  • Solid alder/aluminum clad tilt/turn windows by Unilux of Germany throughout.
  • 6’ x 28’ x 3’ deep aluminum pool and 9’ x 9’x 3′ deep aluminum triangular spa with three sided hot and cold vanishing edge located on the cable suspended deck.
  • Custom designed commercial style, crescent shaped, all stainless steel kitchen with built-in sink and custom burner layout with grates set flush to counter-top.
  • 12 Gal/min fully filtered excellent quality well water.
  • Roofs designed to collect rain water with storage up to 25000 gallons: Storage bladders not included in sale price.
  • Exposed transparent PVC (cleanable and replaceable) interior and exterior roof drains highlight this water collection capability.
  • Gated and fenced with deer resistant 6’ high fencing.

Water Facility Features

  • Much of the conceptual effort for this project came from rather severe site limitations. Additionally there were many specific and unconventional functional requirements that contributed to the overall concept.
  • Due to the strong imagery generated by the concept for the main residence, it was decided early on that the secondary structure; the garage/guest-house, should be subordinated and should relate more to the site than to the main structure.
  • The result for the guest-house is a simple form of exposed reinforced concrete and masonry cut into the hillside to the north, with a water collecting roof garden and a gently sloping, tapered steel awning at the exterior circulation.
  • This project is on the take line of Folsom Lake in an area known as Rattlesnake Bar, in the town of Newcastle near Sacramento, CA. It was determined early on, due to septic requirements, that the structure must be elevated. This requirement necessitated an unconventional approach and we did not feel there was much in the way of a built environment from which to draw for conceptual inspiration. What we did find relevant was a considerable variety of serpentine imagery: the flow of the American River as it feeds into Folsom Lake, the serpentine profile of the nearby foothills, and of course the rattlesnake which thrives in this area known as Rattlesnake Bar.
  • This natural imagery, together with the proximity to waterfront of Folsom Lake and very rugged terrain including numerous granite outcroppings at the site, drove the project conceptually from the very beginning; nautical imagery, images of a shipwreck, a vessel racked against the outcrops was envisioned.
  • The nautical imagery would serve to assimilate the serpentine imagery. Additionally the nautical imagery functions as a nexus between the architecture, structure and integrated solar technologies: In this way the water-collecting warped butterfly profile for the main level roof geometry was conceived, along with its serpentine valley beam, which, when viewed from the interior, become evocative of the damaged underside of a ship’s hull, or the skeletal remains of a rattlesnake.
  • The ‘masting’ for solar arrays and the staid cable suspension of the valley beam contribute to this nautical imagery and provide for a continuous unobstructed view of the entire lower ceiling: the lower level plan, 128+’ x 25+’, which houses the public functions of the house as well as the the Master Bedroom, is as open as possible.
  • The few partitions that exist are held to the North side and are at seven feet maximum height, allowing the roof structure, (compound curving, twisting, fluted steel deck over variably pitched glu-lam rafters @ 4”-8” O.C. bearing on a 12″ steel serpentine valley I-beam), to be a very dynamic and fluid feature, viewable without significant obstruction from anywhere inside the house at that level.
  • The general lighting for the lower level works in concert with the serpentine twisting roof form and gracefully intensifies as the serpentine moves South and dissipates as it moves back to the North.
  • The Upper level of the main residence is supported by the ‘masting’ which creates a moment frame for the lower structure as well as structural support of the upper ‘tree house’ level, enabling it to be completely separated from the lower level. In this way, the warped roof of the lower level is allowed to pass unobstructed underneath the upper level, which, although quarter-round in plan, evokes the warped nature of a full sail due to its concave and sloping roof geometry together with its roof-suspended stairwell.
  • The serpentine profile of the main roof overhang at the North (front) elevation recalls the profile of the Sierra foothills across the lake. The skeletal appearance of the main level South (rear) elevation (glazing between aluminum clad glu-lam posts) is intended to evoke a more weather-beaten side of the ship wreck.
  • Due to the slope variation in the roof structure, the South overhang increases in length, as the rafter slope increases, to allow for adequate shading. Working within a range of overhang allowances for maximum shading efficiency based on roof pitch, I saw the potential to highlight the solar aspects of the design by having the entire shadow-casting edge of the South overhang meet the same plane in space: although this main level roof, which is twisting and curving in both the vertical and horizontal planes, casts a curvilinear shadow on the main floor for almost the entire year, On April 7 @ 11:54 AM, & September 4 @ 11:58 AM (with some slight variation annually), the shadow cast on the concrete slab floor by the warped overhang becomes be a perfectly straight shade line running East to West for a few minutes on each of those two days before warping back to a variable serpentine shadow for six months until the next event.

Information deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. Buyer to verify all information


3599 Hector Rd, Newcastle, Placer County, California, United States


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