Arboretum House

Arboretum House

Arboretum House grows out of its forested site as a cultivated collection of forms that combine to create an architectural ecosystem.

Set within the diverse landscape of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum neighborhood, the design objective was to create the desired residence with minimal impact on the existing vegetation.

The Plan

Precise studies of the existing trees and topography informed the placement, site and organization of the house. Portions of the structure cantilever out into the site, reducing the footprint and reflecting the dense tree canopies above. At the entry, a floating wood canopy provides shelter as it extends deep into the interior, drawing one’s view through the house to the woodland beyond. Modular wood panels line the primary circulation corridor and extend into the main living hall. The panels are extruded into functional objects, connecting the adjacent spaces with a common vocabulary while they perform various functions. The main living hall rises vertically with clerestory windows harvesting light on three sides. A covered wood deck and screen porch extend the interior space out into the woodland and share a stone fireplace chimney and hearth with the living room and reading nook.

The Structure

The building’s envelope is composed of high performing closed cell foam insulation that achieves full assembly R values nearly double code requirements and low-e coated argon-filled glazing within thermally efficient fiberglass frames. Precisely extended roof eaves work in concert with the house’s orientation to utilize the foliage of the surrounding deciduous trees as a natural shading element in the warm summer months. Cross ventilation through carefully placed operable windows eliminates the need for air conditioning. The 3,000-sq.ft. of finished space is heated with a hydronic radiant heat system that utilizes the mass of concrete slab floors to maintain a comfortable environment. Throughout the winter, outside air is filtered through a heat recovery ventilator, bringing fresh air into the home without sacrificing thermal performance.

The Materials

A textural palette of natural materials, including wood, concrete and stone, wraps the collection of forms to seamlessly integrate the home within the landscape while providing a modern interior that welcomes the outdoors in. As part of the intent to minimally impact the existing vegetation, five trees from the home’s selected footprint were harvested, dried and milled to become ceilings, soffits and stairs – the felled timber of this cherished site will forever be experienced and enjoyed.

Woven House

Woven House

Woven House is the pure distillation of what a house is—every detail emphasizes the basic elements and forms of a familiar residential structure while creating a cohesive design that celebrates the modern home.

Located on the eastern edge of Lake Winnebago, this dynamic structure is a beacon at the end of a narrow farm road that punctuates the shoreline. While this family of six lives in New York, deep memories and extended familial connections make Wisconsin a second home. The design objective was to create a welcoming gathering place with a sophisticated sense of style while maximizing connections to the outdoors.

The Plan

Due to the proximity to the water, all spaces, storage and mechanicals needed to be located above grade. These parameters drove the size and volume of the home as the family’s needs and aspirations were addressed. The result is a spatial hierarchy that locates public areas for entertaining prominently off the main entry, while an office space and all bedrooms were positioned for more privacy.

The Structure

Two bold gabled forms instill the fundamental vision of a home, while a low-slung, single-story form weaves through the taller silhouettes to create a series of dynamic interior and exterior spaces. The two-story bedroom structure is rotated to widen views of the lake and harvest additional light. This angled orientation enhances the outdoor entertaining opportunities by increasing the available space and offering multiple functions for the owners’ lakeside gatherings. The angular transition also provides a functional and intuitive separation between the public and private spaces within the house.

The Materials

Due to the owners’ personal affinity for the classic combination of black and white, the exterior and interior finish palette plays with sophisticated contrasts and uses the warmth of wood to infuse a deep sense of place within the lakeside setting.

Wall thicknesses were doubled in order to emphasize the form of the house. The exterior, clad in synthetic slate tiles formulated from recycled rubber tires, provides a specular mosaic skin over the thick outlined forms. This taut surface is kerfed at window and door openings to reveal a layered wrapper that encloses and protects the interior. Breaking free from the dark exterior, the white stucco chimney punctuates the structure as it creates a radiant landmark along the shore.

Within the house, a restrained palette of materials offers texture and explores variations of white with black accents to provide an elegant contrast and sense of drama. The color gradations interplay with natural light to offer visual interest as the interior illumination varies throughout the day. Perfectly imperfect cement plaster applied using old world methods and materials covers walls and ceilings, while reclaimed white oak timbers create a rhythm of support across the gables.

Fieldstone House

Fieldstone House

On a site consisting of both a small farm field and the heavily wooded topography of two glacial kettles, Fieldstone House makes its own distinct imprint upon the land.

The owners were drawn to the topography of the site, an undisturbed parcel along the east side of two glacial kettles. The design objective was to carefully place a residence within the landscape—one that pays homage to the natural surroundings and maximizes views of the glacial kettles.

The Plan

Approaching the house’s entry, one’s view is framed by steel trellises and a notch in the stone wall focusing attention on the woodland topography beyond. Once inside, the view is again aligned through the house and towards the forest. Beginning south of the entry, continuing through the interior spaces and extending back out to the north, a fieldstone wall organizes circulation and provides an inherent connection and orientation to the site. The house’s primary living spaces are collected in a tall volume on the woodland side, with support spaces in the smaller, flat-roofed structure on the field side. The geometries of these forms respond to the varied site conditions as they address the hierarchical program within.

The Structure

The roof of the primary volume gently slopes to a central valley, subtly reminiscent of the adjacent glacial topography. Within the entry, a cedar wall extends down past a timber and steel stair providing visual connection between the two levels. Centered in the main volume, a board-formed concrete chimney engages and anchors both levels. Wood burning fireplaces are enjoyed from both sides of this element, offering flickering views through its mass while providing visual screening from one space to the next.

The house has low-e, argon filled triple pane glazing throughout. Opaque walls are thermally optimized with air-tight foam insulation. Radiant heat is utilized within polished concrete floor slabs on both levels. The mass of the concrete retains the heat energy and distributes it evenly throughout the day. The south facing eave is precisely extended to allow sunlight to fully penetrate the space on winter days, while passively providing shade in the summer.

The Materials

Zinc panels hang like drapes on the façade from the clerestory down to the lower level, blurring the floor line that threads between the spaces. The warm grey metal is balanced with smooth cedar siding that wraps the flat volumes. The taught application highlights a larger geometric composition of the components and blends warmly with the surrounding vegetation. The fieldstone used for the main circulation wall was collected from a nearby site after being brought to the region in a glacier originating in Canada. The veneer itself was polished smooth by glacial activity. And the striations on the surface are the result of debris within the ice that was dragged across the setting stone.

Rock River House

Rock River House

Located at the bend of a meandering river, Rock River House respects and reflects the surrounding landscape in form, function and materiality.

The family had admired the small, overgrown site for years, recognizing its potential at the end of a quiet street a few blocks away from town. The design objective was to create a functional and efficient home with panoramic views of the glistening water below and a forested nature preserve beyond.

The Plan

The program is deftly organized on the narrow wedge of land to create a delightfully functional collection of outdoor spaces while conserving the narrowest tip of the parcel as a view corridor for the community.

The entry sequence begins through a solid wood door affixed with a custom handle shaped as an abstract of the site. Once inside, a scenic view is framed by wooden millwork elements. As circuitous as the river below, a ribbon of mahogany weaves the two levels of the space together. Beginning in the sunlit conservatory, the wood band continues over the kitchen and entry before wrapping down to become a folded wood stair that ascends to the art studio and terrace above. Commanding views of the flora and fauna inspire the owner’s own artwork.

The Structure

The house is assembled from a collection of stepping volumes that recall the nearby crescent-shaped, waterfall edge. With two distinct personalities, the composition modulates its apparent scale. From the street, the construct fits amicably into the modest fabric of the neighborhood as a series of furniture-like wood boxes. It then unfolds into a transparent lens affording uninterrupted views to the water beyond. Wall and ceiling planes are arranged carefully to display kaleidoscopic reflections of sunlight off the water.

The glazing is specifically engineered to reflect winter heat inward while rejecting summer solar gain. It also maximizes visible light transmittance for optimal views to nature. The opaque envelope is insulated with continuous insulation and closed-cell expanding foam to reach average R-values of 31 and 56 for walls and roofs respectively.

The Materials

The façade is clad in reclaimed redwood salvaged from a decommissioned local civic building. Varying in dimension, the original boards were re-milled to achieve maximum yield. Portions of the material were then wire brushed, creating subtle texture and depth that is composed into larger surfaces to further reduce the scale of the structure. Stone harvested from a neighboring Wisconsin quarry completes the succinct palette.

Midvale Courtyard House

Midvale Courtyard House

Midvale Courtyard House is a renovation project that builds on solid mid-century roots—the design balances the introverted nature of a courtyard with the bold personality of an extrovert all while managing matters of privacy.

Located on a busy boulevard in the state’s capital, the 1,685-sq.ft. half-century old ranch home was confined and uninviting, leaving its spaces dark and disconnected from the site. Through renovations and an 840-sq.ft. addition, the design objective was to add a proper entry, elevated master suite and covered parking while piercing and stretching the solid forms to create connections between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Plan

Set back on its lot, the house is buffered from the busy street traffic yet spaced closely to the adjacent neighbors. This posed a quandary for opening the interior to light and views while maintaining privacy.

By creating a series of private outdoor rooms, the interior spaces visually extend beyond their original boundaries. As a result, the plan becomes a collection of independent wings each with a heightened focus on their unique programmatic requirements.

The Structure

Composed with its own courtyard, the new entry and vertical circulation component reorients the house’s façade while integrating the new motor court with the main structure. The geometry of the new entry is extruded into the main form to organize the kitchen on the first floor and master bath on the second floor. Taller ceiling heights are created in the public living wing by affixing the new second floor above the original ceiling height, allowing light to penetrate deeper into the main level.

One’s experience is choreographed through a sequence of private courtyards and interior zones. A series of site walls with varying levels of opacity organize pathways, linking the exterior rooms and providing access throughout the plan. Sitting above the neighboring houses, the new master suite includes a private courtyard terrace. A partial height privacy wall creates intimacy while masking the adjacent rooftops, leaving only views to the mature tree canopies beyond.

The building’s envelope is upgraded with new insulation and roof assemblies. Energy efficient mechanical systems replace outdated infrastructure. The new insulated, low-e glazed fenestration naturally illuminates interior spaces, and all supplemental lighting is upgraded with energy efficient fixtures and lamps.

The Materials

The materials palette transforms this residence, reinforcing its mid-century roots while blurring the lines between interior and exterior. Warm wood tones carry the eye from one plane to the next on both the exterior and interior. On the main level, the wood floor transforms into the ceiling surface. And in the master bath an exotic wood ribbon folds up and over itself, defining a spa-like wet zone. The warmth is complemented by glass, masonry and steel. The material interplay, such as the timber and steel stair and composite truss structure, make architectural details distinct focal points throughout the home.

Meander House

Meander House

Meander House interplays simple forms to create a dynamic structure, a residence that can be viewed as a work of art--an architectural sculpture.

While these clients explored renovating their existing home to meet the needs of a family of five, the endeavor was cost prohibitive. The acquisition of a secluded lot overlooking a ravine provided the perfect setting for the privacy they desired. The design objective was to maintain this sense of privacy inside and out.

The Plan

The home is nestled into the narrow, pointed edge of a wedge-shaped lot to curate views into the steep, wooded ravine. The plan arranges and steps spaces in response to the site and creates distinct zones in order to seclude, private family-only areas of the home.

The entry sequence begins under a folded metal canopy, introducing the view of the wooded ravine beyond. The entry corridor uses the shortest of five ceiling heights to guide visitors into the main living area, creating a feeling of compression released by the view through the glass to the courtyard.

A sculptural white stair forms a silhouette in the full height windows as the light dances across the plaster throughout the day. A two-sided fireplace both divides and connects the spacious living room and the more intimate family den, each enjoying ravine views through full height glass. Private spaces are collected on the second level. Each room commands a captivating view of the tree canopies that hover above the ravine below.

The Structure

The house is an assemblage of forms, anchored by a stout burnished masonry base that carves into the gently sloping terrain. Resting above, and inspired by the classic meander pattern, are interlocking elements of patinated metal and pristine white stucco. The geometry of the house wraps around to reinforce a spatial hierarchy within while insulating interior spaces from the nearby road. Openings are thoughtfully integrated to maintain privacy while gradually increasing in order to capture views of the ravine from numerous vantage points within the home.

The Materials

The sleek sculptural architecture is enhanced by a palette of cool tones and materials. Pure whites and grays, concrete-like tile, quartzite and porcelain achieve an art gallery effect for the interior that is intensely contrasted by an exotic wood floor and matte black accents. The combination of metal, masonry and stucco on the exterior accentuates the juxtaposition of forms to a create dynamic, modern residence.

Bluff House

Bluff House

Designed as a quiet retreat amidst the unglaciated Wisconsin landscape, Bluff House rises from the gently sloping terrain of its wooded site. A former logging road carves through the rhythmic woodland providing access to the house. As the home’s intersecting volumes slowly emerge from the dense forest, the legibility of simple, diagrammatic geometry and the warmth of natural materials welcome visitors.

Early studies of the region’s geology revealed the bluffs’ composition as a hard metamorphic quartzite. Resisting erosion from weathering, rivers and glaciers over the past 350 million years, the bluffs were formed. From this inspiration, Bluff House’s two concrete mass walls organize the home along the crown of the 30-mile long bluff range. Growing from the staggered solid walls are lighter assemblies of cedar sided panels and glazing. The fenestration patterns offer a variety of vistas from, and often through, the house, echoing the varied sight lines that one experiences when walking through the forested bluff. The windows alternate between full height vertical apertures and horizontal clerestories, but always follow the precise 59” structural cadence of the building’s reclaimed timber beams.

The first concrete wall separates residents entering through the garage and guests entering though the solid wood entry door. The two entry sequences are rejoined at the entry foyer where the concrete mass extends into the interior space. Once inside, a circulation gallery leads to the main living hall, or alternately down to the mechanical and storage walk-out level. The open plan of the public volume includes kitchen, dining and living space and opens up to extended views of the forested bluff the house literally and figuratively grows out of. A large cedar deck extends the living space within arm’s reach of the surrounding forest.

The building’s envelope is composed of super insulated polyurethane SIP wall and roof panels and high performing low-e coated argon filled glazing. The house is oriented to utilize the foliage of the surrounding deciduous trees as a natural shading element in the warm summer months. Adding cross ventilation through carefully placed operable windows eliminates the need for air conditioning. The 1,490 sf of finished main level is heated with a hydronic radiant heat system that uses the mass of the lower level slab to maintain a comfortable environment. The heat stored in the slab naturally radiates up through perimeter slots, directing warm air past the main level glazing and is returned through the open stair, completing the convection cycle. Throughout the winter, outside air is filtered through a heat recovery ventilator, bringing fresh air into the home without sacrificing thermal performance.

Arboretum House

Arboretum House

Arboretum House grows out of its forested site as a cultivated collection of forms that combine to create an architectural ecosystem.

Set within the diverse landscape of the University of Wisconsin Arboretum neighborhood, the design objective was to create the desired residence with minimal impact on the existing vegetation.

The Plan

Precise studies of the existing trees and topography informed the placement, site and organization of the house. Portions of the structure cantilever out into the site, reducing the footprint and reflecting the dense tree canopies above. At the entry, a floating wood canopy provides shelter as it extends deep into the interior, drawing one’s view through the house to the woodland beyond. Modular wood panels line the primary circulation corridor and extend into the main living hall. The panels are extruded into functional objects, connecting the adjacent spaces with a common vocabulary while they perform various functions. The main living hall rises vertically with clerestory windows harvesting light on three sides. A covered wood deck and screen porch extend the interior space out into the woodland and share a stone fireplace chimney and hearth with the living room and reading nook.

The Structure

The building’s envelope is composed of high performing closed cell foam insulation that achieves full assembly R values nearly double code requirements and low-e coated argon-filled glazing within thermally efficient fiberglass frames. Precisely extended roof eaves work in concert with the house’s orientation to utilize the foliage of the surrounding deciduous trees as a natural shading element in the warm summer months. Cross ventilation through carefully placed operable windows eliminates the need for air conditioning. The 3,000-sq.ft. of finished space is heated with a hydronic radiant heat system that utilizes the mass of concrete slab floors to maintain a comfortable environment. Throughout the winter, outside air is filtered through a heat recovery ventilator, bringing fresh air into the home without sacrificing thermal performance.

The Materials

A textural palette of natural materials, including wood, concrete and stone, wraps the collection of forms to seamlessly integrate the home within the landscape while providing a modern interior that welcomes the outdoors in. As part of the intent to minimally impact the existing vegetation, five trees from the home’s selected footprint were harvested, dried and milled to become ceilings, soffits and stairs – the felled timber of this cherished site will forever be experienced and enjoyed.

Woven House

Woven House

Woven House is the pure distillation of what a house is—every detail emphasizes the basic elements and forms of a familiar residential structure while creating a cohesive design that celebrates the modern home.

Located on the eastern edge of Lake Winnebago, this dynamic structure is a beacon at the end of a narrow farm road that punctuates the shoreline. While this family of six lives in New York, deep memories and extended familial connections make Wisconsin a second home. The design objective was to create a welcoming gathering place with a sophisticated sense of style while maximizing connections to the outdoors.

The Plan

Due to the proximity to the water, all spaces, storage and mechanicals needed to be located above grade. These parameters drove the size and volume of the home as the family’s needs and aspirations were addressed. The result is a spatial hierarchy that locates public areas for entertaining prominently off the main entry, while an office space and all bedrooms were positioned for more privacy.

The Structure

Two bold gabled forms instill the fundamental vision of a home, while a low-slung, single-story form weaves through the taller silhouettes to create a series of dynamic interior and exterior spaces. The two-story bedroom structure is rotated to widen views of the lake and harvest additional light. This angled orientation enhances the outdoor entertaining opportunities by increasing the available space and offering multiple functions for the owners’ lakeside gatherings. The angular transition also provides a functional and intuitive separation between the public and private spaces within the house.

The Materials

Due to the owners’ personal affinity for the classic combination of black and white, the exterior and interior finish palette plays with sophisticated contrasts and uses the warmth of wood to infuse a deep sense of place within the lakeside setting.

Wall thicknesses were doubled in order to emphasize the form of the house. The exterior, clad in synthetic slate tiles formulated from recycled rubber tires, provides a specular mosaic skin over the thick outlined forms. This taut surface is kerfed at window and door openings to reveal a layered wrapper that encloses and protects the interior. Breaking free from the dark exterior, the white stucco chimney punctuates the structure as it creates a radiant landmark along the shore.

Within the house, a restrained palette of materials offers texture and explores variations of white with black accents to provide an elegant contrast and sense of drama. The color gradations interplay with natural light to offer visual interest as the interior illumination varies throughout the day. Perfectly imperfect cement plaster applied using old world methods and materials covers walls and ceilings, while reclaimed white oak timbers create a rhythm of support across the gables.

Fieldstone House

Fieldstone House

On a site consisting of both a small farm field and the heavily wooded topography of two glacial kettles, Fieldstone House makes its own distinct imprint upon the land.

The owners were drawn to the topography of the site, an undisturbed parcel along the east side of two glacial kettles. The design objective was to carefully place a residence within the landscape—one that pays homage to the natural surroundings and maximizes views of the glacial kettles.

The Plan

Approaching the house’s entry, one’s view is framed by steel trellises and a notch in the stone wall focusing attention on the woodland topography beyond. Once inside, the view is again aligned through the house and towards the forest. Beginning south of the entry, continuing through the interior spaces and extending back out to the north, a fieldstone wall organizes circulation and provides an inherent connection and orientation to the site. The house’s primary living spaces are collected in a tall volume on the woodland side, with support spaces in the smaller, flat-roofed structure on the field side. The geometries of these forms respond to the varied site conditions as they address the hierarchical program within.

The Structure

The roof of the primary volume gently slopes to a central valley, subtly reminiscent of the adjacent glacial topography. Within the entry, a cedar wall extends down past a timber and steel stair providing visual connection between the two levels. Centered in the main volume, a board-formed concrete chimney engages and anchors both levels. Wood burning fireplaces are enjoyed from both sides of this element, offering flickering views through its mass while providing visual screening from one space to the next.

The house has low-e, argon filled triple pane glazing throughout. Opaque walls are thermally optimized with air-tight foam insulation. Radiant heat is utilized within polished concrete floor slabs on both levels. The mass of the concrete retains the heat energy and distributes it evenly throughout the day. The south facing eave is precisely extended to allow sunlight to fully penetrate the space on winter days, while passively providing shade in the summer.

The Materials

Zinc panels hang like drapes on the façade from the clerestory down to the lower level, blurring the floor line that threads between the spaces. The warm grey metal is balanced with smooth cedar siding that wraps the flat volumes. The taught application highlights a larger geometric composition of the components and blends warmly with the surrounding vegetation. The fieldstone used for the main circulation wall was collected from a nearby site after being brought to the region in a glacier originating in Canada. The veneer itself was polished smooth by glacial activity. And the striations on the surface are the result of debris within the ice that was dragged across the setting stone.

Rock River House

Rock River House

Located at the bend of a meandering river, Rock River House respects and reflects the surrounding landscape in form, function and materiality.

The family had admired the small, overgrown site for years, recognizing its potential at the end of a quiet street a few blocks away from town. The design objective was to create a functional and efficient home with panoramic views of the glistening water below and a forested nature preserve beyond.

The Plan

The program is deftly organized on the narrow wedge of land to create a delightfully functional collection of outdoor spaces while conserving the narrowest tip of the parcel as a view corridor for the community.

The entry sequence begins through a solid wood door affixed with a custom handle shaped as an abstract of the site. Once inside, a scenic view is framed by wooden millwork elements. As circuitous as the river below, a ribbon of mahogany weaves the two levels of the space together. Beginning in the sunlit conservatory, the wood band continues over the kitchen and entry before wrapping down to become a folded wood stair that ascends to the art studio and terrace above. Commanding views of the flora and fauna inspire the owner’s own artwork.

The Structure

The house is assembled from a collection of stepping volumes that recall the nearby crescent-shaped, waterfall edge. With two distinct personalities, the composition modulates its apparent scale. From the street, the construct fits amicably into the modest fabric of the neighborhood as a series of furniture-like wood boxes. It then unfolds into a transparent lens affording uninterrupted views to the water beyond. Wall and ceiling planes are arranged carefully to display kaleidoscopic reflections of sunlight off the water.

The glazing is specifically engineered to reflect winter heat inward while rejecting summer solar gain. It also maximizes visible light transmittance for optimal views to nature. The opaque envelope is insulated with continuous insulation and closed-cell expanding foam to reach average R-values of 31 and 56 for walls and roofs respectively.

The Materials

The façade is clad in reclaimed redwood salvaged from a decommissioned local civic building. Varying in dimension, the original boards were re-milled to achieve maximum yield. Portions of the material were then wire brushed, creating subtle texture and depth that is composed into larger surfaces to further reduce the scale of the structure. Stone harvested from a neighboring Wisconsin quarry completes the succinct palette.

Midvale Courtyard House

Midvale Courtyard House

Midvale Courtyard House is a renovation project that builds on solid mid-century roots—the design balances the introverted nature of a courtyard with the bold personality of an extrovert all while managing matters of privacy.

Located on a busy boulevard in the state’s capital, the 1,685-sq.ft. half-century old ranch home was confined and uninviting, leaving its spaces dark and disconnected from the site. Through renovations and an 840-sq.ft. addition, the design objective was to add a proper entry, elevated master suite and covered parking while piercing and stretching the solid forms to create connections between indoor and outdoor spaces.

The Plan

Set back on its lot, the house is buffered from the busy street traffic yet spaced closely to the adjacent neighbors. This posed a quandary for opening the interior to light and views while maintaining privacy.

By creating a series of private outdoor rooms, the interior spaces visually extend beyond their original boundaries. As a result, the plan becomes a collection of independent wings each with a heightened focus on their unique programmatic requirements.

The Structure

Composed with its own courtyard, the new entry and vertical circulation component reorients the house’s façade while integrating the new motor court with the main structure. The geometry of the new entry is extruded into the main form to organize the kitchen on the first floor and master bath on the second floor. Taller ceiling heights are created in the public living wing by affixing the new second floor above the original ceiling height, allowing light to penetrate deeper into the main level.

One’s experience is choreographed through a sequence of private courtyards and interior zones. A series of site walls with varying levels of opacity organize pathways, linking the exterior rooms and providing access throughout the plan. Sitting above the neighboring houses, the new master suite includes a private courtyard terrace. A partial height privacy wall creates intimacy while masking the adjacent rooftops, leaving only views to the mature tree canopies beyond.

The building’s envelope is upgraded with new insulation and roof assemblies. Energy efficient mechanical systems replace outdated infrastructure. The new insulated, low-e glazed fenestration naturally illuminates interior spaces, and all supplemental lighting is upgraded with energy efficient fixtures and lamps.

The Materials

The materials palette transforms this residence, reinforcing its mid-century roots while blurring the lines between interior and exterior. Warm wood tones carry the eye from one plane to the next on both the exterior and interior. On the main level, the wood floor transforms into the ceiling surface. And in the master bath an exotic wood ribbon folds up and over itself, defining a spa-like wet zone. The warmth is complemented by glass, masonry and steel. The material interplay, such as the timber and steel stair and composite truss structure, make architectural details distinct focal points throughout the home.

Meander House

Meander House

Meander House interplays simple forms to create a dynamic structure, a residence that can be viewed as a work of art--an architectural sculpture.

While these clients explored renovating their existing home to meet the needs of a family of five, the endeavor was cost prohibitive. The acquisition of a secluded lot overlooking a ravine provided the perfect setting for the privacy they desired. The design objective was to maintain this sense of privacy inside and out.

The Plan

The home is nestled into the narrow, pointed edge of a wedge-shaped lot to curate views into the steep, wooded ravine. The plan arranges and steps spaces in response to the site and creates distinct zones in order to seclude, private family-only areas of the home.

The entry sequence begins under a folded metal canopy, introducing the view of the wooded ravine beyond. The entry corridor uses the shortest of five ceiling heights to guide visitors into the main living area, creating a feeling of compression released by the view through the glass to the courtyard.

A sculptural white stair forms a silhouette in the full height windows as the light dances across the plaster throughout the day. A two-sided fireplace both divides and connects the spacious living room and the more intimate family den, each enjoying ravine views through full height glass. Private spaces are collected on the second level. Each room commands a captivating view of the tree canopies that hover above the ravine below.

The Structure

The house is an assemblage of forms, anchored by a stout burnished masonry base that carves into the gently sloping terrain. Resting above, and inspired by the classic meander pattern, are interlocking elements of patinated metal and pristine white stucco. The geometry of the house wraps around to reinforce a spatial hierarchy within while insulating interior spaces from the nearby road. Openings are thoughtfully integrated to maintain privacy while gradually increasing in order to capture views of the ravine from numerous vantage points within the home.

The Materials

The sleek sculptural architecture is enhanced by a palette of cool tones and materials. Pure whites and grays, concrete-like tile, quartzite and porcelain achieve an art gallery effect for the interior that is intensely contrasted by an exotic wood floor and matte black accents. The combination of metal, masonry and stucco on the exterior accentuates the juxtaposition of forms to a create dynamic, modern residence.