Architects: Joseph N. Biondo
Location: Lake Winola, Overfield, PA 18419, USA
Architect: Spillman Farmer Architects
Photographs: Courtesy of joseph n. biondo
From the architect. With the living spaces located directly above the sleeping spaces, this residence transcends the conventional planning and construction of the traditional cottage architecture that exists in the region. As one approaches the site, the initial image is that of restrained elegance. The presence of shimmering metal roofs becomes analogous to that of the lake while subtly-carved façade provides a glimpse through the house to the lake beyond.
Once adjacent to the building, the layering becomes evident. The roof appears to hover, while the masonry volumes become an organizing element with sufficient size, closure, and regularity to serve as a figure that can embrace the other layers being organized within. The flanking reinforced masonry walls provide sufficient structure and enclosure which enable the main living area to be free of interior walls. The absence of these walls offers uninterrupted views to the lake from every room. The natural progression of the building with its respect to its topography is rhythmic.
Gradationally carved and more delicate, the structure anchors itself differently as the grade falls towards the lake. The heavy masonry walls affix themselves into the earth while the lighter wood-framed, cement panel and glass envelope appears to hover above grade. The roof form, which consists of two opposing sheds, visually floats above the primary living space giving the impression of outdoor pavilions from the lake.
The choice to use certain materials in this home is driven by aesthetic, functional requirements and largely reflects ties to regional traditions. Our curiosity with materials of modest means is explored in this house. By using ordinary materials we gain the greatest possibility of achieving a renewed reality within the material condition of a building. The concrete masonry unit – nothing can be more elemental, humbler in substance, modest in manufacture and simpler in shape and texture. The concrete block can be married to other material whether natural or man made; wood, metal, glass, cementitious panels. Through rigorous and precise application of these complimentary materials, the status of the concrete block, which is so simple and so ordinary, can be elevated. The materials used are commonplace however, the care of their methods of assembly and absolute passion for scrupulous detailing are not.
Text provided by Spillman Farmer Architects.