The Bluff House in Baraboo, Wisconsin is a residential project completed in 2009 by Bruns Architecture. Conceptualized as a quiet woodland retreat in Wisconsin’s untamed wilderness, the Bluff House has collected a variety of design awards including a 2009 ALA Gold Design Award, a 2011 AIA Wisconsin Honor Award, and a 2010 ED+C Honorable Mention.
This residence is sited on a gentle slope within a 30-mile bluff range in Baraboo and is accessed by a remnant logging trail through the dense woodlands. Modest in square footage and plan but spectacular in detailing, spatial quality, and material selection, the Bluff House is a series of intersecting volumes structured from two concrete walls. The first concrete wall separate the private and public entryways, which eventually converge into a communal foyer welcoming visitors and residents to the home. This foyer opens up into the public volume of the home, containing the main living room, kitchen, and dining room.
In contrast to the concrete structural walls, the Bluff House employs light wall assemblies of warm, natural materials (primarily cedar paneling and reclaimed wood timbers) to complement the rich natural context of the site. The bulk of the building in composed of roof and wall SIP panels, which efficiently complete the building envelope and reduce heat loss. This construction material, in conjunction with a hydronic radiant heat system, a heat recovery ventilation system, and low-e glazing contribute to a sustainable, high-efficiency residence. The house is also oriented to utilize the foliage of the surrounding deciduous trees as a natural shading element in the warm summer months.