Laboratory / Randy Brown Architects

© Assassi Productions

The architect purchased this property and decided to move into the house while phasing construction projects. The intention is for the project to be a laboratory for architectural experiments.

The site is in the country in a partially wooded area with rolling hills with views to the west and south. The existing house is located on the highest ground of the site on the edge of where the trees meet the native prairie grass meadow.

Architects: Randy Brown Architects
Location: , , USA
Project Team: Randy Brown, Katy Slate, Steve Mielke, Matt Stoffel, David Marble, Pavel Pepeliaev, Will Corcoran, Scott Shell, Matthew Meehan, Matthew Miltner, Nate Gieselman, Corey Dixon, Ash Parker, Jeremy Redding, Dirk Henke, Nathan Miller, Dale Luebbert, Brian Hamilton, Zach Hilleson, Nathan Griffith
Claude Breithaupt, Brandon Schumacher, Alexander Jack, Ian Thomas, Ted Slate, Brian Garvey, Travis Gunter, Bill Deroin, Kevin Scott, Jason Wheeler, TJ Olson, Ryan Wilkening, Brad Rodenburg, Jim Kersten, Mike McMahon, John Gallup Jr., Joe Vessel, Katy Atherton, Mike Hargens

Contractor: Randy Brown Architects
Client: Randy and Kim Brown
Photographs: Assassi Productions

© Assassi Productions

The project has been built by the architect with his own hands. Each of the last four summers, college architecture students have been hired to assist with the design and construction. Each piece was designed and then constructed, which allowed the design to continue to evolve as it was being constructed. Everything was custom designed and built on site: Panelization of walls, fabrication of custom hurricane clips, hybrid wood and steel wall structures, 5 staircase designs, 3 custom window frames, doors, floors, ceilings and custom millwork.

© Assassi Productions

The project is intended to continue for the rest of the architect’s life. It is a “work in progress” with many areas unfinished today, opportunities for tomorrow.

ground floor plan

Green building techniques were integrated into the architecture: passive solar, natural ventilation insulated concrete forms, R-45 roof insulation, renewable materials, radiant flooring, heat pumps, and a green roof system.

first floor plan

The design explores ways to intertwine what is man-made with what is natural. The intention is to create a house that is so interconnected with the land that it is simultaneously natural and man-made, much like abandoned tractors and farm machinery rusting away in the rural landscape.

second floor plan

The intent was to create open dynamic spaces that are defined and still feel connected to the larger whole. This was done by canting walls, pulling floors away from walls, creating mezzanine spaces, large window walls, and stairs that seem to fly.

third floor plan
Cite: "Laboratory / Randy Brown Architects" 17 Jan 2011. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • up_today_arch

    Every thing is well done in this project… plans, cladding, interior… Very good peice of architecture…..

  • Joey B.

    I loved it until I saw the plan… I feel it is to arbitrary with the canting of the walls and the use of angles.

  • truthometer

    The claim of “green design” is highly suspect given the fact that the large glass walls are single-glazed. This house is an energy hog. Stop the greenwashing and bogus claims!

  • urban green

    the whole thing is too arbitrary for me…

    and what’s up the line the architect built it with his own hands? …there are like 30 people listed there! sounds like another premadonna taking advantage of interns and students to me.

  • Chris

    I just love it period. Wouldn’t be what it is without the angles, right? There’s gotta be some room for whimsy within the vast field of architecture…. I hope.