Platform House in Platte County
by Rockhill and Associates with Brian Carter
The origins for the design of the Platform House in rural Platte County, Missouri, are derived from utilitarian buildings of the region and rooted in the economy of the elevated shed.
Designed by Rockhill and Associates to replace an existing farmhouse, this new building relates to the vernacular tradition of keeping farm buildings elevated above the ground to eliminate moisture and prevent the growth of mold.
The new house is elevated above the field and there is a change in height from west to east of over ten feet (three meters). A semi-detached two-car garage is located alongside. It is placed above the sloping site and faces south to maximize solar gain.
The resultant lightness of form, with its corncrib-like skin of fiber-cement boards, simple rectilinear form, and placement on the grid of the original farmstead, relates to both regional farm groupings and the language of modern architecture.
With an overall area of 1,848 square feet (171.7 square meters) the house consists of seven contiguous 11-foot- (3.4-meter-) wide bays each 24 feet (7.3 meters) deep.
The entire length of the house is bisected by two continuous tracks that each support two 11-foot-wide translucent paneled doors. These enable the owners to change the arrangement of spaces so as to accommodate different activities — exercise routines, office work, host guests and entertain visitors.
The south facade is glazed with continuous floor-to-ceiling insulated windows. Fabric overhangs shade the openings in the summer and the concrete floors are heated by solar gain during the winter. The exposed concrete slab is also heated with a backup radiant floor heating system.
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This article is excerpted from Designing and Building: Rockhill and Associates, 2nd edition, edited by Brian Carter, copyright © 2011, with permission of the publisher, Tuns Press.