Bow Truss House II, west elevation

The Bow Truss House (BTH) is appropriate for most climates. The truss is composed of a horizontal bottom chord and convex top chord, forming a gently curved roof with a pitch shallow enough to function as a living roof. The trusses are usually pre-fabricated in a shop, delivered to the site, and erected over a non-articulated rectangular floor plan. This construction method can reduce the roof framing cost of the house considerably.

The design of the BTH incorporates a number of principles of ecological architecture which make it energy efficient. For instance, it is elongated along its east-west axis in order to maximize winter solar gain. Most of the glass, including all operable doors and windows, are located on the south facing wall, with only enough windows on the north as is necessary to provide cross ventilation. Adequate thermal mass for the house is provided by the insulated concrete floors and twelve large concrete columns, as well as the interior chimney, ceramic tile and thick plaster. Radiant heat in the floor and a super insulated double exterior wall adds to the energy efficiency of the Bow Truss House.

It should be noted that the interior walls of the house extend only to the horizontal bottom chord, with insulated ceilings at this location to provide an acoustical separation between the private and public spaces. The roof is built using thick tongue and groove wood planks spanning from one truss to another and left exposed on the interior. This creates an elegant, gentle arch over the entire space. Two large beams bolted to the concrete columns support the trusses and define the central corridor.