Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture

© Anthony Vizzari

Architects: Anderson Anderson Architecture
Location: Lake Michigan, MI,
Collaborators: Dan Brondyk, Terry Nettles Engineer, Comstock Construction
Project Area: 1,600 sq ft
Project Year: 2006
Photographs: Anthony Vizzari

This house is a tower rising above the rolling topography of its cherry orchard site, peering outwards toward spectacular westward views of Lake Michigan and the surrounding agricultural landscape. The site is minimally disturbed, other than the mounding of two earthen enclosures adjacent to the tower, created from the excavated earth of the foundation and offering a ground to contrast the tower experience above the treescape. Due to the slope of the site, the family enters at the third level, descending down to the kids’ bedrooms and bath or moving up to the main living spaces which look out over the orchards to Lake Michigan.

exploded axo
© Anthony Vizzari

A house would appear as an unsympathetic intrusion in this pure landscape, and with its singular vertical presence rising above the orchard, the tower is intended to reflect the austere, scaleless non-particularity of the occasional farm buildings dotted elsewhere on the hills. To help mask the scale, the building is wrapped in a skirting wall of recycled translucent polyethelene slats, standing two feet out from the galvanized sheet metal cladding of the wall surface on aluminum frames that serve also as window washing platforms and emergency exit ladders. The translucent polyethylene material set out over the dully reflective wall cladding is chosen for its ability to gather the light and color of its landscape, dissolving the finely shadowed and haloed structure into the seasonal color cycle of snow, ice and black twig tracery; pale pink blossom clouds; pollen green leaf and grass; golden straw and vivid foliage. The double skin creates a micro-climate and thermal differential around the structure creating a rippling mirage updraft that in the summer sends steaming condensation or in the winter drips melting icicles.

© Anthony Vizzari

In order to keep costs and on site labor to a minimum, SIPs panels compose the exterior walls. A steel moment frame allows for the height of the structure and for loft like spaces within the main living area. With the use of common materials and industrial detailing, a commercial contractor expects to build the home in six to eight weeks.

Cite: "Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture" 01 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed 27 Nov 2014. <http://www.archdaily.com/?p=58191>
  • Doug

    Sort of like another landmark Michigan design… Edsel.

  • rodger

    nice site.

    • http://www.fgoesarte.blogspot.com Felipe Goes

      GREAT HOUSE !!! Cool design and a very intelligent assembly order too.

  • http://yorik.uncreated.net Yorik

    Pretty interesting… The “techno” look is not only in the look but also in the way the project is made… looks like a Do-It-Yourself kit

  • http://uptodayarch.blogspot.com up_today_arch

    unfortunatly, this nice sketch not put into action… interesting house, but sketch is better.

  • meanstupid

    wow Oo

  • voisin de ville

    ” this nice sketch not put into action” said up_today_arch
    maybe because the polycarbonate screens are completly transparents.
    by tne way, what is the use of them ? decoration ?

  • st barth

    Yes, the transparency of the screens seems pointless. It allows all of the structure holding the panels in place to come to the fore. The effect is something like Frankenstein with his loose stitches hanging out…or maybe a robot with loose wires.

  • http://twitter.com/mielle/status/13307435011 Mielle

    RT @yuhji_takahashi: #architecture : Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture > 詳しく読んでいないが、気になる建築。http://bit.ly/afCR7n

  • jdcarling

    quote of poly carbonate from author above.

    The translucent polyethylene material set out over the dully reflective wall cladding is chosen for its ability to gather the light and color of its landscape, dissolving the finely shadowed and haloed structure into the seasonal color cycle of snow….. The double skin creates a micro-climate and thermal differential around the structure creating a rippling mirage updraft that in the summer sends steaming condensation or in the winter drips melting icicles.

    • Ozmoto

      …….whatever.

  • http://twitter.com/project499/status/13318150108 Yngve Hauge

    RT @HomeDecorNews: Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture http://bit.ly/dASgai #architecture

  • Monty

    Prison guard tower.

  • Hound

    Nice theory about the exterior taking on the colour of the landscape, and it works well in winter, but it looks truly awful in the spring/summer. This should have been built in Alaska.

  • http://www.fgoesarte.blogspot.com Felipe Goes

    GREAT HOUSE !!! Cool design and a very intelligent assembly order.

  • http://twitter.com/nicholaspatten/status/13370116946 Nicholas Patten

    I'd Live Here: Chameleon House. http://bit.ly/bIGVEL

  • http://twitter.com/webtonic/status/13370227910 Web Tonic

    RT @NicholasPatten: I'd Live Here: Chameleon House. http://bit.ly/bIGVEL

  • http://twitter.com/thejthiggins/status/13370305924 Jonathan Higgins

    RT @nicholaspatten: I'd Live Here: Chameleon House. http://bit.ly/bIGVEL

  • http://twitter.com/arqtweets/status/13649882303 Natália Queiroz

    I like this house – Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture | http://bit.ly/cMJISo #architecture #arquitetura #prefab

  • http://twitter.com/luizdumont/status/14270396927 Luiz Dumont

    Reading: "Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/6iq7re )

  • http://twitter.com/dunnarq/status/14917721016 John Dunn

    Chameleon House / Anderson Anderson Architecture | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/9WVFkc

  • sbcole

    Looks like a commercial air conditioning unit for a convention center, or maybe a processing unit at an oil refinery. It would be cool in a city but I don’t like it on that hill.

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