Iron Oak House
The Iron Oak house sits on a 70-acre picturesque pastoral setting. The Tangipahoa River forms the south and west edge of the owners’ property with the house being only a 1000′ away. Luckily, about 25 acres lay at a higher elevation outside of the 100-year flood plain and was chosen for the house site. Being from New Orleans, the owners intend to use the house as a respite from big city life and the potential dangers of frequent hurricanes in south Louisiana.
The design parti of the house is organized along a backbone of bridges connecting 4 separate, single-story programmatic pods. These are an open-air carport, a two-bedroom guest suite, a living, kitchen & dining space, and a master bedroom suite. The three pods are oriented to the south, and all enjoy beautiful views through the expansive glass toward the heavily wooded river floodplain. Each of the pods is sheltered by a single sloping standing seam roof that rises toward the south creating deep overhangs for exterior porches. The main central living pod, with the deepest porch, is centered on an outdoor living, kitchen, and lap pool area. The porches are braced at each column with a diagonal steel member. The primary structural skeleton of the house is that of steel with some secondary wood framing. The three livable pods, each separated and connected by bridges, allow for bio-swale drainage to occur at each separation, which is then led out toward the river floodplain. The exterior material pallet is simple. 10′ high brick veneer fin walls bracket the sides of each pod. Above the brick datum line, the remainder of the house is clad with painted cement board siding. The site provided the house’s namesake, a grove of stately Iron Oak trees (also known as Post oaks) loom over the contoured site. The slow-growing oak thrives in dry, poor soil and is resistant to rot, fire, and drought. The house incorporates several active and passive sustainable strategies that increase the house’s energy efficiency, including a solar panel array, tankless water heater, Energy Star appliances, spray foam insulation, optimal solar orientation, south-facing shading strategies to minimize solar heat gain and geothermal HVAC systems.