Speranza Architecture + Urban Design

Design of the Push | Pull House in Veneta, Oregon began with the assembly of squares and their relationship between the larger forest site and a grazing field. Corner windows, convex and concave, respectively pull one out or push nature in. This visual connection with nature outside the house is balanced with a spatial connection inside the house in overheard square volumes of space each illuminated by a single operable window. 

The design for this specific project investigated how to create a cost-effective design for seed farmer and caretakers at a site located between the fog phenomena of a low prairie and adjacent forest land.

The design tested volumes of square spaces, separately heated or cooled while connectively accessed at the ground level. Convex and concave corner windows were used to pull one’s experience out or push nature in to those squares – paralleling the thermodynamic airflow efficiency of the space.   A computational method using Rhino Grasshopper plugin Ladybug was used to test rotation of these squares volumes and roof angles to visualize solar radiance, daylighting and airflow convection data. The optimized shape was then designed to minimize roof framing and unoccupiable roof space. The resulting design of 45 degree rotated hip roofs at rotations of 90 degrees provided an effective: 1) cooling strategy in summer to allow warm air to flush out high open windows and 2) heating strategy in winter to locate compact sleeping areas near a stove using free wood from the adjacent forest land.

The research investigation proved an effective use of computational analysis to assemble volumes of stack ventilation primarily using radiance analysis with challenges of dependence on simulations rather than data gathered onsite. The contribution of the work was a demonstration application of this research method for a low-cost construction approach of $175/square foot using BIM software Revit to achieve a fixed-cost bid project for this home owner couple that subsides off the land. 


Jury’s Comments: “While simple and elegant in plan the house’s sections create a vibrant juxtaposition. Careful attention to the use of volumes for lighting, heating and cooling results in poetic special contrasts.  The use of common materials…wood, plaster, concrete, and glass…have been masterfully orchestrated to create un-common spaces.

The jury commends the building’s craftsmanship, especially considering the modest construction cost, and how it accentuates the power of well design spaces.  The overall effect creates a beautiful relationship between inner space and the surrounding forest environment.”