architect: Eggleston Farkas Architects, Seattle

project: Port Hadlock Cabin, Port Hadlock, Wash.

detail: Gutter

Eggleston Farkas Architects practices in the Pacific Northwest, where precipitation is a constant companion, so the firm is continually exploring ways to celebrate water and its conveyance. “We like to look at how gutters and downspouts can work with the architecture,” says Allan Farkas, AIA.

The Port Hadlock Cabin is a perfect example of the firm's objective. Located on a sloping site with a wetlands area, the 1,965-square-foot retreat consists of two volumes: a main house with a bedroom, living area, and screen porch and a guest wing with a bedroom, loft, and playroom. Each volume is topped by a corrugated metal shed roof that slopes to a shared gutter. The firm rejected a conventional water-collection system, however, in favor of a creative design inspired by one firm co-principal John Eggleston, AIA, saw while traveling in the Caribbean.

First, the architects designed the roof of the smaller volume to hang over the larger building by roughly 12 inches, creating a covered exterior walkway between the two buildings. They then cut away about 1/8 of the circumference of a large pipe and attached it to the main house with 12 brackets. Each strap is sandwiched between the 2x6 rafter tails of the main house and attaches to the underside of the guest wing's roof framing. “It's a simple hot-dipped galvanized steel pipe, but the straps were custom-designed and the general contractor found a fabricator,” Farkas explains.

A 1-inch-by-1-inch drip tab at the end of the pipe gets the water started. “Otherwise, it has a tendency to run backwards,” Farkas says. The water falls into a concrete receptacle that channels it away from the house into a holding cistern, where it slowly releases to the wetlands.

general contractor: RMG Construction, Blaine, Wash.

metal fabricator: Allied Steel Fabricators, Redmond, Wash.

materials: Hot-dipped galvanized steel gutter, brackets, bolts, corrugated galvanized steel roof, precast concrete cistern

photography: Jim Van Gundy/