David S. Bennahum on Wed, 7 May 1997 16:32:01 +0200 (MET DST)

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<nettime> Bill Gates' "Home".

If all architecture is, in some way, a reflection of a world-view, then perhaps it is interesting to read the details of what critics find notable about Bill Gates' new "home" being built outside Seattle.  What follows is a list of descriptions compiled by local building officials who toured Bill Gates' home.  "Melinda" is the name of his wife.  

These descriptions were sent to me via Omar Wassow, the person who runs New York Online (http://www.nyo.com/)

Here is one official's commentary:

- Currently 300 workers including 104 electricians.
- No visible electrical outlets anywhere.  Gates does not like "clutter".
- Construction likely complete in September 1997, 3 months behind owner's 
- 112 steps from the main floor to the main entry (or take the elevator).
- Wood columns from main floor to roof in entry area are over 70 feet long.
- Theme throughout main floor is high tech lodge.  Primary structure is all  
exposed similar to large logs in a lodge except the logs are PERFECTLY finished.
- All timbers used inside and out are finished the same --3 inches have been 
removed from the exterior of the wood and then sanded to a satin finish.
- All timbers are nearly perfect in that there are almost no knots. 
- All connectors are structural grade stainless steel.
- All bolts throughout the house are stainless steel and oriented the same 20
- All woodwork is flawless.  Much of the woodwork is of various rare species 
>From all over the world -- imported especially for the Gates'.
- Some of the interior passage doors wei=h over 800 lbs, but are balanced for 
easy use.
- Accoustics are a concern throughout.  Various woods and fabrics are being 
used.  Accoustic panels in the Ballroom move out of sight on their own.
- Roofing is stainless steel.
- Floor is heated everywhere including the driveway and walks.
- Ventilation system also conditions the air for health and comfort. 
- Security system (automated and personnel) is redundant.  Hidden cameras 
everywhere including interior stone walls.
- Sensors in the floor can track a person to within 6 inches.  System is 
monitored at the Microsoft campus.
- Gates has a personal 4-car garage.  House for the maintenance staff has its
own 3-car garage.  Nanny parks in the 6-car carport across from the main entry. 
An additional 10-cars can be parked in a subterranean arched concrete building 
which through an electronic transformation becomes a basketball court.
- Nanny lives in plush quarters in the main residence near to the Gates' 
- Existing cedar tree was determined by Gates to be in the wrong location and 
moved 6 inches.
- Gates insisted on saving a 140 year old maple adjacent to the driveway. The 
tree is monitored electronically 24 hours per day via computer.  If it seems
dry, it gets just the right amount of water automatically delivered. 
- There will be an 18 hole putting range.
- A salmon hatchery is being finished.
- If you wish, your music will follow you throughout the house -- even at the 
bottom of the pool.
- Many doors are blended so well with the walls that it is hard to see them.
- Theatre (underground in a concrete shell) is the most state of the art theatre
in the world according to specialty contractor.
- Entry gate senses when your car approaches and opens fully by the time you 
- Very old antique cabinets from China have been brought in and built into the 
walls with adjacent paneling built to match the cabinets exactly. 
- 52 miles of communication cable in the building.
- Shower curtain next to the spa is a 4500 lb slab of granite.
- Melinda has 42 linear feet of clothes hanging space in her closet operated
like a dry cleaner's rack.
- Master bathtub can be filled to the right temperature and depth by Gates as  
he drives home from work.
- There is a 28 foot high cantilever retaining wall.
- Reinforcing steel in all concrete is four times the code minimum. No. 18 steel
wrapped with no. 5 ties was common for simple columns. 
- There is a loading bay within the building.
- All work is virtually flawless.
- An interior designer disagreed with the layout of a portion of the home. 20
Demolition resulted and 160 cubic yards of cured, cast-in-place concrete was 
- All building officials were suffering "sensory overload" shortly after the
3-hour tour started.

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