Architects: Grunsfeld Shafer Architects
Location: Illinois, USA
Design Team: Thomas L. Shafer
Area: 0.0 sqm
Photographs: Steve Hall © Hedrich Blessing
From the architect. Rigorous parameters dictate the design of this weekend residence, an architecturally distinguished one-level house for a multi-generational family. As a counterpoint to the owners’ high-rise lifestyle, the home accommodates an abundance of family and guests and offers immediate access to the land. It is also serene, comfortable and secluded. The owners can re-energize from city life, enjoy intimate landscape views from every room and roam the grounds.
The structure is a simple configuration of three contiguous pavilions of varying heights, each housing different functions. But all offer light-filled living spaces with significant volume to heighten the airy nature of the home. The design reflects the family’s desire to provide an epicenter for action; access the outdoors from multiple spaces; provide room for family interactions at the pool, play areas and central fireplace; have private spaces for intimate activities such as reading; and embrace sustainable initiatives.
To these ends, the design features:
- A 6500 sq. ft. floor plan that is precisely sited to maximize daylight, sightlines and ventilation and allows visual and physical access to the rolling acres.
- Eco-friendly solutions that include a geothermal heating and cooling system, high-efficiency foam insulation, Low-E2 argon-filled insulated glazing, and low-VOC materials throughout; meticulously calculated overhangs to provide solar shading; and Energy Star appliances, low- flow fixtures and recycled materials including resilient flooring and carpets.
- Three interconnected pavilions--a voluminous living space with a cantilevered brise-soliel to modulate the Southern light; a guest wing with three bedrooms and an exercise studio that slides open to the pool environs; and a secluded master suite pavilion.
- The use of strong yet honest materials (architectural concrete, lead-coated copper, wood and stone) combined with simple, straightforward design elements such as high ceilings, varied rooflines, vermillion columns, custom designed built-in steel shelving which spans the length of the kitchen-living room space and an in-situ architectural concrete chimney.
- Channel glass that streams consistent northern light, allowing for minimal use of electrical lighting during the day.
- A shallow pool with a sound feature to generate a sense of tranquility, a stacked lumber BBQ and a custom designed sunshade.
- Its dramatic scale signals the home’s entry and visually bridges an architectural divide between the public voluminous living space and the private master suite of the house.
- The panel pivots effortlessly, providing varying degrees of transparency, security and exposure of, and to, the residence.
- When fully opened at 90 degrees, it reveals the voluminous foyer to the world outside, totally transforming the nature of the space. It also provides ventilation and a direct passage to the pool environs, a covered outdoor eating area and the private grounds beyond.
- Its character and presence is heightened by its high-gloss paint and slender, sculptural stainless steel pull.
- In context, the thoughtfully rendered and subtly articulated portal and vermillion panel represents daring artistry and offer a stunning and vibrant counterpoint to the residence’s sedate, understated, elegant materials palette.