ARCKIT Model 33 - Hooper's Island Residence

Featuring Zack Bishop

To embrace complexity is to treasure diversity. To eliminate uncertainties is to limit possibilities. Be ready to walk out of your comfort zone for sustainability.
— Kelvin Chau

Case Study

Hooper's Island Residence, a 2,200 square foot home designed by David Jameson Architects, is situated along the Chesapeake Bay near the Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge. The programming consists of three separate quarters to meet the client's needs providing a guest, master and lodge cabins. In addition, a fourth cabin containing an art studio, sits off to the side. The material use and placement of these cabins lend itself very well to its cohesion. Having received multiple awards, Hooper's island Residence is most know for its 2009 AIA National Housing Certificate.  The project was deeply rooted in its surroundings being between a salt marsh, a pine forest and the Chesapeake Bay with efforts to be one with the Sky, Horizon and Water.

The home rest on a land mass that is on average less than one meter above sea level creating the need to build the home at least 3 feet above the base flood elevations to comply with local ordinances. Inspiration was taken from the surrounding barns and shacks that have survived hurricanes and other natural events. The entire home is elevated by plinths made of concrete masonry units. This method of foundation construction leads to a very visually pleasing of forms cantilevering in space while also minimizing the homes footprint on the landscape.

As a vacation home, the building is able to adjust and conform to many degrees of use depending on both the weather and number of guests. The three separate cabins can be individually locked, conditioned and inhabited. These cabins with metal cladding and sloped roofs are all placed to have unique orientations and views of the nearby Honga River. The three volumes are connected by an elevated screened porch. From here, a wooden deck leads to an elevated swimming pool.

Overall this home is beautifully crafted and skillfully done, it is raised to be flood proof, minimizing the home's impact on the surrounding environment all while meeting the clients flexible needs.


Project Details

Zack and I began this project by laying down a large base plate where we then placed the Arckit Half Walls down as the elevated foundation for us to rest the home upon. Looking at pictures and the diagrammed floor plans provided by the architects, we had to guess the placement of these components. Naturally, it made sense that each mass would line up on center with its foundation. From here we outlined the floor plan, connecting it with the elevated foundation and having most of it cantilevering over the edges equally on either side. It is tough thinking this many steps ahead since we had not completely had an idea of the project scale and how big each of the cabins were. There are a few areas where we lined up the Arckit components off of the standard grid to achieve accuracy and that is why the stairs shown below are not able to pin to the base plate.

After all the walls were placed, Zack started working on roofing the structure while I worked on creating a hole in the base plate to represent the pool. Each cabin of the home had a tiled single gabled roof while the "bridge" or connecting area between the cabins had a flat roof.

Lastly, we added the fourth cabin, the art studio separated from the home on its own platform. Overall this was a fantastic learning experience that brought about new uses for components as we explored with methods of creating disaster proof architecture.

Photo Gallery

Video Documentation


Zack Bishop is a first year architecture student at the University of Maryland. He is interested in sustainable materials and design as well as techniques to fortify buildings for extreme weather situations.

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