Three building systems, each with its own advantages, combine to create a traditional-looking Washington home.
Synopsis: An architect in Tacoma, Washington, explains why stick framing, timber framing and Rastra blocks (lightweight concrete blocks) were all used on the same house. The builder discusses what it’s like to work with Rastra blocks, and why there’s a porch at every corner of this house.
Craig Aument is a partner in The Cascade Joinery, a timber-frame company in Bellingham, Wash., so it should not have been surprising that the house he asked me to design included massive posts and beams, and beautiful woodworking joinery. What was intriguing was that Craig and his wife, Kelly, also wanted to include other building systems in the house.
In the end, the house we designed uses three different structural components. The exterior walls of the first floor are made of Rastra blocks, relatively lightweight stackable concrete forms that when filled with concrete provide a strong, well-insulated wall with minimal air…