Mar 01st 2017 // Innovation
It began with a dream location; the top of Mount Larson – one of the highest vantage points in Austin, Texas. That’s where the distinctly fluid Manta Haus got its start. Award-winning architect Winn Wittman, renowned for his modern contemporary residential and commercial architecture, was commissioned to build “something spectacular.”
Wittman designs site-specific homes, so he knew he needed to create a design that would flow with the hilltop and look great from all angles as it would be displayed prominently. Demand for innovative design is growing, and its inspiration can come from anywhere. So, after spending some time contemplating the design and his fascination with curvy roofs, Wittman drew on inspiration from industry greats like Oscar Niemeyer and Zaha Hadid. He then reflected upon elegant, beautiful curves that can be found in nature; and it came to him – a Manta Ray. And so the giant rooftop took shape.
When it comes to roof design, water-tightness is of the utmost importance. And as the Manta Haus designing began in 2013, it was clear that the roof’s design had potential drainage and waterproofing issues. Along with the shape of the roof, the organic design also inspired the use of interlocking, diamond-shaped panels, rather than standard panels, to resemble fish scales. And though interlocking panels typically shed most water, some does get through.
The assembly of the roof could not consist of metal panels alone: a draining and waterproofing system would need to be included/designed. Wittman enlisted Positive Energy consultant and AIA Building Enclosure Council member Kristof Irwin to help with the specific, custom-built waterproofing system. Irwin decided the best way to do this was to shed water off the edges of the roof and have some internal drains to accommodate the valleys of the roof. Irwin recommended using DELTA®-TRELA, a vapor-permeable underlayment with an integrated drainage and ventilation layer.
Beautiful design isn’t all that Wittman provides his clients. His firm also works to ensure clients’ investments are sound and watertight. Energy efficiency is also crucial. The Manta Haus is a low-energy/high-efficiency home, due in large part to DELTA®-TRELA and the additional drainage plane, which provided the ability to reduce the heat load further on the structure. While Austin is very hot and very rainy at different times of the year, it can also freeze. Having products that perform well in all seasons, particularly in a hot environment prone to flash floods, was critical.
Using the resources and experts available to him, Wittman found the best solution for the project while creating a new partnership with the manufacturer that will continue to benefit his firm and its projects, resulting in great designs and satisfied customers. Architects shouldn’t have to compromise innovation for protection. It is possible to push the boundaries of design while securing the integrity of the room and building for years to come. The Manta Haus has done just that.