El Portal Yosemite Institute Residence 5627 Foresta Road: Deconstruction and Rebuild

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The residence at Lot 42 is structurally inadequate. The house has moisture infiltration problems, which has lead to mold in the roof and walls. The walls also have evidence of termite damage. The house's foundation is inadequate. YI proposes removing the present structure and rebuilding.

YI has consulted with the NPS History, Architecture, and Landscapes Division for help in the architectural design of the new house. We were asked to avoid enlarging the footprint and to maintain the same number of bedrooms. We were allowed to add a second story, as long as the new structure maintained similar size and massing as the rest of the neighborhood. YI and NPS also chose to address the local parking issues, and avoid disrupting the viewsheds of neighboring houses. Our design addresses all of the Institute's needs within the framework established by NPS. HAL has reviewed and approved our plans. YI continues to consult with the NPS Historical Architect as the design develops.

YI will undertake deconstruction of the current structure using environmentally responsible methods. Asbestos abatement is complete. Deconstruction will be done primarily by hand, with the goal of salvaging as much material as possible for future reuse, recycling materials that cannot be salvaged, and ultimately diverting up to 80% of the building from the waste stream.

During site preparation, YI seeks to remove approximately 16 cubic yards of material, to the north of the garage. This will greatly improve vehicle circulation and parking for the entire neighborhood. YI has consulted NPS Archeology for recommendations on mitigation to protect resources.

The project would remove two stretches of riveted iron pipe. It is possible that one of these represents part of an early El Portal water distribution system. In order to capture this utilities information, the project proponent will photodocument the pipelines in their existing condition, in the exposed cutbank behind the extant house. The pipes will be documented to scale in plan and profile view prior to their removal; the plan view documentation will include any visible extensions beyond the project area for a distance of 50'. Upon determination that one or both of the segments continues in an intact utility line beyond the project area, a small section of the subject pipe(s) (approx. 12") will be removed and saved for inspection by the Yosemite Museum staff. NPS Archeology will provide spot checking of areas set for soil disturbance, as well as monitoring of the disturbance if needed.

The new house will sit approximately 10 feet west of the current house, and the wall of the first story will serve as a retaining wall. Advantages to this site adjustment include better solar access, erosion control, and improved setbacks from adjoining properties and the common driveway.

The new house will have the same overall dimensions of the current structure. In total, it will be a 2 story, 1600 square foot, 3 bed/2 bath house.

YI is determined to demonstrate green building techniques. These methods will provide a healthy, safe, and ecologically friendly home. The building will be primarily strawbale construction, which has excellent thermal qualities and low-embodied energy. The exterior will have a stucco finish. We will use passive solar design to optimize winter solar heat, as well as diminish solar heat gain in the summer. If budget allows, we will include solar hot water and a photovoltaic system for generating electricity. YI will install colored metal roofing, to help reflect summer sun without the unsightly glare associated with the current aluminum roof. All fixtures and appliances will be chosen for high efficiency.

YI hopes to begin construction during the spring of 2008, and finish by January 2009.