A Conversation between Past and Present A 1905 bungalow located in Issaquah, about 25 miles east of Seattle, has been completely renovated in order to create a new Reading Room for the Christian Science Church. Anchored by a new reflecting pool on the corner of the site, the new Reading Room brings a frankly modern expression to the older building, creating an intriguing dialogue between past and present. The new Reading Room is a serene space for study and contemplation, filled with natural light from new Douglas fir windows and generous ceiling light monitors. New exposed roof framing is Douglas fir. The walls are primarily glass, with the entire north wall composed of satin etch glass with “floating” Sapele shelving placed in front of the glass. The end wall of the room features a stone screen wall, with 8-ft high pieces of sawn basalt forming a delicate pattern of light and shadow.
Custom furnishings bring a welcome touch of craft to the room. The Sapele reading desks are each supported by a series of cast-bronze legs, with an intricate bas-relief pattern on the leg surface. The bronze patterning continues onto the table surface itself, forming a beautiful flush juxtaposition of bronze and Sapele wood.
Sustainable design principles were incorporated from the start of the project. Renovations are inherently sustainable, since an existing structure is recycled and given new life and purpose rather than being torn down. The demolition included a high percentage of recycling, and the new construction incorporated 30-40% greater insulation values than code requirements (2x8 exterior walls); extensive new windows used for illumination and natural venting; high efficiency heat pump mechanical system; low-VOC paints and stains; and natural materials (low carbon footprint) such as wood and stone on the exterior. Also critical for sustainability is the attention to detailing and craftsmanship, resulting in construction that is extremely durable, and materials are protected for a long life-cycle.