Great Room Expectations

Constructing this family lodge required a complex marriage of materials, including conventional milled lumber, steel, and structural and decorative logs, successfully executed by skilled local craftsmen.

May 01, 2004

 

The great room's ceiling culminates in a cupola.
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Constructing this family lodge required a complex marriage of materials, including conventional milled lumber, steel, and structural and decorative logs, successfully executed by skilled local craftsmen, architect Aaron Zimmer says. "It's always a challenge in residential construction to introduce metal framing in what is traditionally a wood-frame structure."

Nowhere in the home is this amalgamation more important structurally - or more striking visually - than in its octagon-shaped great room. A 35-foot, tongue-and-groove pine ceiling culminates in a cupola, all supported by a combination of wood and steel framing hidden beneath decorative log trim.

"The goal was to create a space that appears as though it were a wood-frame structure," Zimmer says. "The eight-sided shape provides the opportunity for multiple window walls, increasing the view potential."

Kurt Hogue, general manager of Castle Builders, says the great room "was a very tricky space to build because of the shape of the room and the number of glass walls. With a room this shape and size, there is just not a lot of opportunity for lateral support."

Subcontractors framed the room's lower portion conventionally with a 14-foot top plate. Next, a tube-steel tension ring with anchor bolts welded to its top, permitting attachment of a nailing plate, was placed atop the walls, and tube-steel columns were positioned in each of the octagon's eight corners. The tension ring then was ramset and screwed into the top plate. Next, a compression ring, with joist hangers attached, was fabricated using I-beams and packed with laminated veneer lumber. A crane held this ring in place while it was welded to the home's steel ridge beam. Two-by-10 wood joists connected the two rings. A plywood sub-roof completed the structure.

"This was not a typical project," Zimmer says. "We relied on our framers' ingenuity and craftsmanship to get the geometries framed and the members set in the best construction method for the home."

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