Straitsview Farm is a 100-acre farm located in the rain shadow of Washington State’s Olympic Mountains, where it receives a mere 20 inches of rain per year. The goal of the MVVA master plan was to let the site's natural resources and history of cultivation guide the restoration of the landscape.
The island farm runs right down to Puget Sound, with views across the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the Olympic Range beyond.
Arriving via a new entry road through a thick evergreen forest, visitors catch the glimmer of the large pond through the trees. Part of the farm’s water storage system, the pond is cooled by the surrounding woods to reduce evaporation. The expanse of water reveals itself as the road crosses a bridge over the pond’s feeder stream.
As it emerges from the forest into farmland, the road aligns with a half-mile evergreen hedgerow along the eastern edge of the property, shielding views from the outside and providing a dramatic counterpoint to the open fields.
Obliquely visible from a compound consisting of the main house, guest house, and barn, a pair of new irrigation ponds receives water released by the upper woodland pond as needed.
Long and thin, these “whale ponds” were imagined as homages to the humpback and gray whales that are frequently visible in the strait below. The water, read as an interruption in the surface of the meadow, imitates the emergence of the whale’s body as it breaches the surface of the ocean.