Microsoft founder Bill Gates and his family live in a 66,000 square foot estate on the shore of Lake Washington in Medina, Washington. The nickname for the home is Xanadu 2.0, after the estate of the title character in the movie Citizen Kane.
Designed by James Cutler Architects and Bohlin Cywinski Jackson, the house has a modern design in the “Pacific Lodge” style.
The property is an earth-sheltered house built into the side of a hill with Douglas fir timbers, stainless steel roof, and concrete foundation with steel reinforcements several times stronger than the minimums set by the local building code to prevent earthquake damages.
Not surprisingly, high technology is a key element within the compound. Everyone wears a pin with a special chip that upon entrance of a room automatically adjust temperature, music, and lighting based on their preferences.
To ensure privacy, much of the structure is buried into the hillside, but windows on the lakefront side of the house provide views of the lake and Seattle to the west.
Inside the mansion, there is a grand staircase, a family wing, a guest wing, a theatre, exercise facilities, and a pool building with a 17-by-60 foot swimming pool that has an underwater music system.
One of the most intriguing parts of the property is a paneled 2,100 square foot library with a domed reading room. An inscription at the base of the dome is a line from the conclusion of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. It reads, “He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close he could hardly fail to grasp it.”
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