SkyCottage / archimania

Sky Cottage

Architect: archimania
Location: Memphis, TN, USA
Client: Barry Alan Yoakum, AIA, LEED AP
General Contractor: Barry Alan Yoakum, AIA, LEED AP
Structure: Poe Engineering
Mechanical consultant: Haltom Engineering
Electrical Consultant: De Pouw Engineering
Lighting Advisor: Benya Lighting Design
LEED for Homes Provider: AEC
Project year: 2007
Budget: US$ 416,387
Project Area: 238 sqm
Photographs: © Jeffrey Jacobs Photography

sky-cottage_downstairs Sky Cottage Sky Cottage Sky Cottage

SkyCottage is a progressive home whose design is informed by the view of the Mississippi River, embraces the challenges of a tight site, and enhances the community fabric of one of the earliest examples of New Urbanism.

Sky Cottage


This three-story residence occupies a tiny, pie-shaped corner lot with a view of the Mississippi River. The parti demonstrates an interest in abiding by the rules set forth in the neighborhood, yet also bending them as a response to the River. The result is the composition of two architectural volumes. A white- cube aligns itself with the established streetscape of rowhouses, and an elevated alloy-coated box resists this grid by transversing the cube in both directions, responding directly to the River view.

Sky Cottage


The house is a series of experiences that are directed by view and movement. The first floor has floor-to-ceiling glass that defines a combination of entry, patio and guestroom spaces. The visitor moves up and into the home’s living level, which reveals an intensely focused view of the River. Lastly, one ascends to the most private zone, the master suite. It includes a dramatic view of the River, a sweeping vista to the north, and a rare city view to the south.

Sky Cottage


The design provides an extremely high ratio of green-space-to-buildable-area than is found elsewhere in the development. The home’s footprint consumes only 44% of this area. Open view sheds are maintained for neighboring homes and the casual passerby. SkyCottage is the first Tennessee residence designed and owned by an architect that has been submitted for LEED for Homes Certification.

Cite: "SkyCottage / archimania" 30 Jul 2009. ArchDaily. Accessed 30 May 2015. <>
  • mjt

    house is sick in a good way

  • Tim R

    I love how the partio is executed. Each volume is appropriately done for complimenting the composition of the existing homes and for embracing the view. There is so much rationale behind each of the volumes. Love it!

  • jw

    there are some nice moments in the design of this house… i absolutely love the photograph of the third level bathroom showing the space beyond.

    … but i feel that some of the planning wasn’t completely solved or executed as well as it could have been (like the third floor—having to move through the dressing room to get to the bedroom)… it may have something to do with the placement of the stairs?

    • Terry Glenn Phipps

      Traditionally, a dressing room is an anti chamber to a bedroom. A dressing room, still for many people, is a semi-public space that is accessible to people working in the household. There is nothing at all peculiar about this planning.

      Otherwise, this project does indeed have a spectacular parti. This is one of those cases where ignoring the architectural context is not only necessary but also noble. One does wonder if the client couldn’t have found a better triangle of land for such an elegant building.

      While it doesn’t appear to be particularly efficient, the lighting solution here is better than 95% of the buildings that get published. Combined with a nicely furnished interior (another place where architects don’t do all that well) the project soars.

      Finally, I would encourage everyone to pay attention to what good quality photography can do for a project. The excellent photographs surely show this project off to its best advantage.

      My only criticisms are the use of some overly trendy elements such as the lounge-lizard fireplace (it was cool when Anouska Hempel did it well and for the first time in 1990, now that we are at the Nth iteration it has lost cachet) and the peek-a-boo bathroom a-la Philippe Starck.

      Terry Glenn Phipps

    • Trevor

      Sometimes in american architecture people like walking through the master closet, especially if its that big. That was most likely very intentional. Now whether or not thats a good move for american’s to desire is worth a discussion.

  • what?

    i find it very atractive but what’s up with the ground floor window from the main street? behind those green courtains is just the garage… or maybe they just served an older set of plans

  • ron brenner

    It is an interesting modern design, but I wish there were more pictures illustrating it’s context. The article states that the design “enhances the community fabric” within its new urbanism surroundings. It would be nice to see a couple of photos that prove that.

  • Memphis Monster

    I love this house. I use to ride my bike past it all the time. I always was curious how the inside looked. I had no idea Archamania designed the house, although it makes sense since they do so much killer stuff here in Memphis.

  • Fino

    Ah yes, an Archimania project! Southern contemporary at its best, and this firm never fails to deliver excellent progressive work in this part of the US. And of course…the house is stunning.

    that is all.

  • Tim R

    I found it on Google Street View @ 76 Harbor Village Drive, Memphis, TN. You can get a good sense of the surrounding neighborhood and the view which dictates the house’s orientation

  • Gillio Francesa

    its very interesting, reminds me a lot of the work of architects like Norten, the only thing I feel is the interior its a little eclectic… (I dunno if the same word works in english) But looks nice, clean, and elegant.

  • Rainman

    I guarantee it is universally reviled in this neighborhood. Good for them.

  • barry

    actually…..most people comment very positively about the design. it has opended up dialogue of “what is modern architecture?”.

    • Johann

      This is a very nice project indeed. Elegant, simple, clear, but dialogue about “what is modern architecture”? This is a broad, meaningful, and deep subject which makes the response very vague. There is only a handful of revolutionary architectural masterpieces that have really opened that question and have defined and redefined our notions of architecture. I find it difficult to see how this project accomplishes this.

  • md

    why’s everyone got to ‘ef’ up their projects with a fibonachi pattern’d curtain wall?

    • Trevor


  • meanhacker

    is there i 3d model so that i could look around and see how it looks like? thanks!

  • Pingback: Sky Cottage by Archimania - Architecture - Muslim Rahman

  • meanhacker

    here is a 3d version of this, i threw it together in a short period of time

  • John-David Carling

    Im Loving it!

  • marshalhq hongquoc

    Thanks for your beautiful house

  • John Doe

    I really like this house. Just one example of the great work that archimania does in Memphis, TN. That being said I would like to add a humble thought: Looking past the many pros– the parti (which is simple but nice, especially from the bathtub view) and ensuing form; there are a few cons– I don’t see how this improves the urban fabric; many choices seem to be fad-ish. Eg., Why would a house on Mud Island be 70% alloy-coated steel. I get the at it “resists the grid” and is “modern” versus the white brick which is what? Not modern? It’s white… The silo look is cool and all but it seems too fad-ish for the residence of an owner of archimania. But then again, maybe that is a selling point for archimania? Overall, great residence (but you don’t need me to tell you that)!