To satisfy a client’s passion for barns, we sought to capture the qualities of traditional barn structures (generous spaces; repetitive timber frames), while developing a modern building responding to the demands both of a residential program, and a site’s dramatic views of the adjacent corn field and nearby moody Atlantic coast. The main home is accompanied by a woodshop with adjoining changing rooms for use of the lap pool that lies just beyond. The woodshop was a special request from the client, an avid woodworker with passionate requirements about the shop’s aesthetic and geographical relationship to the house. With such a strong affinity for a hobby exercised indoors, we exploited the impressive scope of the site and the accompanying nature by designing a compound of buildings that incorporate the emotion of the surrounding outdoors from within the buildings themselves.
The entrance of the house is approached along a raised boardwalk. The entry sequence draws one through the building’s louvered skin into a two-story foyer overlooking a three story interior garden courtyard. The house’s public spaces are elevated to the second floor to capture the long views. The main space, an open living, dining and kitchen hall, opens to a billiard room below, and to a mezzanine and a ceiling-scape of delicate three-dimensional hybrid wood-and-steel timber frame members and slot skylight above. An immense stone fireplace divides this hall from the outdoor, screened porch beyond. The mezzanine opens outside to a rooftop garden connecting to a study tucked into the rafters.
The foremost determining feature of the project’s architecture is its collaborative use of inside and outside spaces that come together to form a dualistic experience; succeeding in bringing the outside in. To unify the various internal and external spaces, we created a translucent wrapper for the building of louvers and rain screen siding. In all, five outdoor courts and garden spaces are unified under the single roof, giving the structure a double reading of complexity from up close, and simple monolithic harmony from afar. When lit at night, the main house’s light shines from within the spaces between the louvers, allowing a gauzy translucence rarely seen in solid, volumetric structures.
The woodshop building also maintains the indoor-outdoor parti with a semi-covered rooftop patio alongside the upstairs woodshop entrance. Down below are the changing rooms, kitchen area and garage, with a breezeway dividing the indoor spaces on either side, paving the way to the pool straight ahead.