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Prefab trusses give dramatic volumes, clear spaces.

Prefab trusses give dramatic volumes, clear spaces

Under one roof, especially one as simple and straightforward as this, you might expect to find a simple, straightforward-- maybe even dull--floor plan. The picture at right shows this is clearly not the case.

How are the dramatic volumes and clear spans under this roof possible? Tucson architect Bill Gansline supported the gable roof of Chris and Reed Harris's house with prefabricated trustees, then stepped the floor down, following the contours of the site.

The trusses create a clear 24-foot span, so no bearing walls need break up the interior space. Voids in the trusses allow races for wiring and heating and cooling ducts, as well as room for recessed light fixtures.

Throughout most of the house, the ceiling follows the angle of the trusses' lower edge. But in the living room adjacent to a bay window, the ceiling soars to the actual roof line. Rafters attached to the trusses support the small section of roof over the 16-foot-high bay. Half-walls and full-height room dividers stop well short of the ceiling. Changes in floor level add even more space, particularly in the living room, where the lowered floor makes it the tallest room in the house.

Exposed aggregate forms the brad stairs that mark level changes; slate-like black vinyl on the floors of the dining room and entry hall picks up the aggregate's darker tones. Tightly woven carpeting in the living room echoes the aggregate's texture as well. On the hall walls, gypsum-board detailing repeats the step patterns elsewhere.

The fairly light corrugated steel roof matches the style of ranch structures built locally in the 1850s.

Photo: Exposed halves of trusses form an open latticework over the entry. Trusses support wide gable roof to open up the interior

Photo: Jutting bay window and stepped fireplace core are the only interruptions in strong, simple lines of corrugated steel roof

Photo: Sweeping ceiling, supported by trusses, doesn't need support walls. Changing floor levels and room dividers define separate areas
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Date:May 1, 1988
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