architecture - engineering - construction

The Book House: Unlimited Imagination in Design, Vision and Application


Nestled in the foothills of Santa Barbara, California, the Book House is a 7,000 square foot ‘stack of books’ vision come to life. The property owner, a well-accomplished publisher and sculptural artist discussing his future project with his architect, was suddenly inspired by a stack of books on a nearby desk. The property owner challenged the architect to design a functional and creative space that resembled a stack of books.

With over 500 sculptures on his property, the owner looked to use the unique structure as a museum. Each of the eight books featured in the structure have the titles of various books on each spine.

The structure has already received recognition within the building industry.

The Design

The Book House is a metal framed structure that features a glass window ceiling in the middle which separates one stack of books from the other. The unique shape throughout the stucture means that no single window is standard. Each window throughout the structure is either tilted or altered to suit the unique angles of the books. The eight books in the structure are wrapped in metal giving a distinct ‘well-read’ look to the building.

Being completely unique in its design, local licensed Icynene contractor, Insulate SB became involved in the project. The team at Insulate SB advised the property owner that spray foam insulation was an ideal solution to use throughout the structure due to its flexibility, thermal qualities and air-sealing qualities.

Insulating the Book House

The thick double-framed walls and the unique and odd angles of the Book House initially presented a challenge to the Insulate SB team. The team had to consider effective and precise methods to adequately install the spray foam into the wall and ceiling cavities. The team at Insulate SB had recommended to the owner that Icynene Classic™ (LD-C-50) spray foam insulation be used throughout the property. The team sprayed Icynene Classic™ spray foam throughout the conditioned roof deck to achieve an R-Value of R-20 at 5.5” and throughout the exterior wallas and floors to achieve R-13 at 3.5”.

The Insulate SB team had two experienced sprayers working on the project. Their experience and knowledge helped to overcome the challenges of the doubleframed walls and irregular framing. An assistant helped move equipment and scaffolding to ensure the sprayers remained focused on the job.

As a light-density spray foam, Icynene Classic™ offers property owners an array of benefits including thermal comfort and air sealing. Icynene Classic™ also has excellent sound dampening qualities allowing airborne and flanking noises to be diminished for a quieter space.

Following the installation of the spray foam, the team finished the process by using No Burn XD ignition barrier. The spraying was completed over four days aided by the use of two sprayers working in tandem to successfully complete the job and ensure the unique structure was completely insulated and air-sealed.

The Result

The Book House is complete and has been landscaped to suit its surrounds. The unusual shape and design of the structure has already been receiving attention from not only the local community but also from within the building industry. Insulate SB was awarded the 2013 National Industry Excellence Award - Specialty Application by the Spray Polyurethane Foam Alliance (SPFA) for their involvement in the Book House project.

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