Xanadu 2.0

Bill Gates's stately pleasure dome and futuristic home.


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Other buildings 10. Guest house Size: 1,900 sq. ft. One bedroom, one bath, one fireplace Almost hidden underground, this high-tech burrow was the first structure built on the site (completed in 1992), as a test of the technology to be used in the design of the main house. Gates has used the house as a retreat; he wrote much of his book, The Road Ahead, here. 11. Underground garage Size: 6,300 sq. ft. This cavelike structure is the largest and best hidden of three garages. Built entirely underground of concrete and stainless steel, it can easily park 10 or more cars. Some of the concrete is purposely broken for a "deconstructivist" look. 12. Gatehouse Size: 3,000 sq. ft. Includes security offices, mailroom (with X-ray machine), greenhouse, and garage. The lower entrance to the property is here. 13. Boathouse Size: 530 sq. ft. This rustic log building's roof straddle a small inlet big enough for no more than a ski boat. An outdoor spa is nearby. 14. Activities building Size: 900 sq. ft. Adjacent to multisport court, putting green, and two boat docks. An existing home at this location was moved off the site by barge.

Grounds The 5 acres are planted in native alder, maple, and Douglas fir, kept as natural in appearance as possible. Most walkways are covered with slate. Concrete retaining walls are faced with sandstone and granite. 15. Estuary An artificial stream and wetland estuary were designed in part to solve a problem of runoff caused by the retaining walls behind the house. It will be stoked with salmon and sea-run cutthroat trout.

[Blue print captions]: A library fit for a Medici The grand staircase is the tallest and longest space in the home.

[Diagram labels]: Elevator; Main entrance; 92 feet; Grand staircase; Side view; Garden room with glass ceiling; Library dome; Underground structures; Four-car garage; 1 Pool building; Family wing; 2 Exercise facilities; 15 Estuary; 13 Boathouse; 9 Multi-purpose room; Main entrance; Covered parking; 4 Grand staircase; Guest wing; 3 Library; Underground structures; 7 Offices; 8 Reception hall; Man-made beach and imported driftwood; Outdoor spa; Trestle; Property line; 10 Guest home; 11 Garage; 12 Gatehouse; Greenhouse; 14 Activities building; Multisport court; Water-skiing dock; North; Lake Washington; Inlet; Outdoor spa

Site plan Joining several properties created the irregularly shaped hillside lot.

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Basic data Total assessed value: $53,392,200 Land value: $9,122,200 Estimated property taxes for 1998: $620,183, (based on 1997 rates; 1998 rate has not been set.) Waterfront: Approximately 500 feet Square footage, all structures: More than 66,000 (equal to 1.5 acres) Rooms: Seven bedrooms, 24 bathrooms (includes 10 full baths), six kitchens, six fireplaces Style: Pacific Northwest lodge Architects: James Cutler and Peter Bohlin Interior designer: Thierry w. Despont Primary contractor: Sellen Construction

Construction features Frame Primarily timber frame. Half a million board feet of lumber was used. Support beams were salvaged from a Weyerhaeuser mill on the Columbia River, refinished, and sanded to a satin glow. The timbers are joined with stainless-steel fittings, which have been flame-bronzed and anodized, for a rustic look. All connecting bolts (also stainless steel) point in the same direction.

Foundation The hillside is in an earthquake zone, so the foundation sits on concrete piers and uses tiebacks and steel reinforcements several times stronger than the minimums set by the building code. Massive retaining walls, several feet thick in places, created a drainage problem, solved by collecting runoff in buried pipes that feed into the estuary.

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Electronics Miles of communication cable, largely fiber optic, run throughout the house, linking computer servers powered by the Windows NT operating system. In each room, touch-sensitive pads control lighting, music, and climate. Visitors will wear small electronic pins, which will let the computers know who and where they are. Lights and other settings will adjust automatically. Floors throughout the house (and the driveway) are heated.

Gates, Bill