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  4. United States
  5. Richard Meier & Partners
  6. 1973
  7. AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP
AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP, Courtesy of AIA
Courtesy of AIA

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP +11

  • Architects

  • Location

    429 Bluff Dr, Harbor Springs, MI 49740, United States
  • Architect

    Richard Meier
  • References

    RichardMeier.com, MyNorth, WiredNewYork
  • Project Year

    1973
  • Photographs

    Courtesy of AIA

From the architect. Hovering over the shores of Lake Michigan, the Douglas House was built by Richard Meier in 1971-1973 for Jim and Jean Douglas. The house is gently placed on a steep slope over the water, almost as if it is floating amongst the trees. 

As Meier stated about the house, "So steep is the slope to the water that the house appears to have been dropped into the site, a machine-crafted object that has landed in a natural world. The dramatic dialogue between the whiteness of the house and the primary blues and greens of the water, trees, and sky allows the house not only to assert its own presence but to enhance, by contrast, the beauty of its natural environment as well."

Entry Floor Plan
Entry Floor Plan

Due to its location, Meier layered four floors and anchored the house into the hill.  The entry is on the east side of the house facing the road, which Meier considers the "private" zone and is expanded by a roof-level bridge. Once inside the entry vestibule there is a continuation to a roof-deck, and the living room and kitchen are seen two stories below with the fire place in view across from the entry, typical in homes designed by Meier.

Floor Plan
Floor Plan

The "public" zone of the house, including the living room and dining room, faces Lake Michigan and gives the impression of a completely different place when compared to the deceiving one-story entry space. The living room is open to the surrounding landscape with three large floor-to-ceiling windows, which was heavily used on the western side of the house to take advantage of the view. It also receives sunlight through a skylight that further separates the public and private zones.

The bedrooms were designed small and cabin-like, intimate for their private function. The layers of the floors are read on the exterior through these window mullions, and the interior public and private zones can also be determined depending on the number and sizes of the windows.

West Elevation
West Elevation

Circulation through the house is primarily horizontal with the open floor plans except for two staircases, one interior and one exterior, on the corners of the house. Their placement was intended in order to not interrupt the horizontal views towards the outdoors.

As is typical of Meier buildings, the house is completely white made with reinforced concrete and glass except for two steel pipes that extend from the chimney up to the roof, framing views at the entry level. The white of the house allows it to stick out as a man-made object on the landscape during the changing colors of the seasons, which can be experienced inside through the large glass panels.

These natural surroundings were also taken into consideration during the construction of the house where as few trees were removed as possible in order to leave the landscape in its most natural state while forcing the house to integrate with it.

After a three year construction period, the Douglas House was completed. Meier furnished the home with furniture designed by Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe, and himself, and when completed it needed no ornamentation other than the nature it was designed around. Meier's work enabled the house to extend with the natural horizontals of the shoreline, the lake's surface, and the horizon while following the pattern of the trees with vertical mullions, creating generous spacious continuity from interior to exterior.

Cite: Adelyn Perez. "AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier & Partners Architects, LLP" 28 May 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <http://www.archdaily.com/61276/ad-classics-douglas-house-richard-meier/>
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35 Comments

Ahmad · November 03, 2014

i like the idea .. how he made the house like it's floating on trees .. and how he made the Huge windows to make use of that Perfect view

Brady Donnelly · June 13, 2012

This falls into the category of houses-I&#39d-live-in in Harbor Springs: the Douglas House, by Richard Meier. http://t.co/vYbN6g6K

Brian Jeffcock · April 12, 2012

@MarielVandeloo @robmrtg Hey! have you check out archdaily? Here&#39s another personal fav that works with nature : http://t.co/KcLbbZsc

agripina · March 30, 2012

Douglas House- Richard Meier
http://t.co/DmZ27mMV

Domenique Mora · February 23, 2012

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily http://t.co/Og2uSONs via @archdaily

ppriolo · February 06, 2012

@ArchDaily Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier (1971-73). http://t.co/D0sYWaNE

Gisél Leal · November 11, 2011

Me encantan los espacios blancos. Y para eso Richard Meier es la mejor inspiración. http://t.co/XDyZig5Q

FlameHeating · September 07, 2011

Wow. This house in northern Michigan is amazing: http://t.co/nzHFZ3i

Victoria Pater · September 07, 2011

Next time I&#39m in Northern MI, I will go to this ? http://t.co/I4S2A3E

waitingkate · September 05, 2011

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily http://t.co/W2GqsKl ? ??????? @archdaily

Natália Fell · August 25, 2011

Um dia eu vou ser uma arquiteta tão boa, quanto esse cara. Sou fã! Essa casa é FODA: http://t.co/H1tqHwi

Pika-Pi · July 10, 2011

Hello, can anyone tell me what are those trees called?

zzqdzj · May 24, 2011

hey there!!!I am an architecture student first year and i took the douglas house as final project of the year!!if you could help please i need more info about the house…photos,sketchs,sections…i couldn’t found it i’ve been working for weeks and i’m not ready yet please help? if you could send the info at my e-mail zzqdzj@hotmail.com i would be very thankfull waiting for a reply please i would have to analyse the inner space of the house too

Eduardo Sanches · January 18, 2011

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily http://t.co/djE8hzb via @archdaily

SaraAlMutlaq · January 02, 2011

2010 in review: #Richard #Meiere Douglas House: http://www.archdaily.com/61276...

Jason Newlin · June 09, 2010

And speaking of Architects... Richard Meier&#39s Doouglas House was one of my favorite when I was an architecture student: http://bit.ly/906R9z

anthony chalfoun · May 06, 2011 12:23 AM

hey there!!!I am an architecture student first year and i took the douglas house as final project of the year!!if you could help please i need more info about the house...photos,sketchs,sections...i couldn't found it i've been working for weeks and i'm not ready yet please help? if you could send the info at my e-mail anthony-chalfoun@live.com i would be very thankfull waiting for a reply please i would have to analyse the inner space of the house too

Kevin Parent · June 04, 2010

AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily: http://bit.ly/9YHzar via @addthis

o0 · June 04, 2010

Architecture: Douglas House [Pictures] - http://ht.ly/1RTk7 (via @archdaily) #design #architecture

AaronDino · June 01, 2010

Reading: "AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/oylbem )

Michael Baugus · June 01, 2010

Breathtaking! AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/cKPFz8

Tiago · May 31, 2010

#Arquitetura - AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier http://ow.ly/1RQ5R #architecture

Isa · May 31, 2010

Love this house, Richard Meier - Douglas House... http://migre.me/Knqx (via @archdaily) #architecture #ADclassics

Natalia Chekhovska · May 31, 2010

what a house!.. harbor springs, mi.. http://www.archdaily.com/61276...

Elizabeth Gouldon · May 31, 2010

Check out: "AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily"( http://twitthis.com/oylbem )

MiC · May 30, 2010

Well 37 years old... :S How many houses are been build since than with similar quality? Too Much too thought about. Congratulations AD for add some classics, it's for certain works to follow with interest. I will wait for Chemosphere of Lautner... :P

sinner · May 29, 2010

always thought the structure was a balloon frame and not reinforced concrete..like the smith house

sinner · May 29, 2010 03:22 PM

and the chimney is made of bricks

markX · May 29, 2010

Do not even comment if you do not know about the great masters and their works.

The Big Black &amp; White Zebr · May 29, 2010

Great architecture before star-chitecture took over... like Hadid, Leibeskind and Ghery.

Tuf Pak · May 30, 2010 10:17 PM

Oh man. Richard Meier was as much a starchitect 15 years ago as Zaha is today. (and if you talk to a certain class of NY city developer, he's still cock-of-the-walk)

Same as it ever was, if you ask me. The echo-chamber is just a little louder now days.

leporello · May 29, 2010

???????????????????????
http://www.archdaily.com/61276...

spacemonkey · May 29, 2010

Yes but that doesn't mean that it is 3ds fault. I'd say everyone who goes out of the school now does renders, you just have to see a student competition, in the last one I saw I just found one group that did a real model instead of a virtual one.

So if every young architects or students do 3d models, you could associate extrange formalist projects to 3d renders or to the new generations of architects and the new tendencies. I opt for the second one.

Anonymous · May 29, 2010

You got to admit though - there is a lot of deception with 3D renderers.

Maria C Ortiz · May 28, 2010

:) RT @Dunnarq: Esta casa está en mi "TOP 5"!!! AD Classics: Douglas House / Richard Meier | ArchDaily http://bit.ly/befiJu

spacemonkey · May 28, 2010

Forgot to say that this house is great. Didn't know about it.

spacemonkey · May 28, 2010

Renderings and 3ds are just a tool, as they are the pencil and the paper. Using 3ds or not doesn't mean the project is going to be better or worse, or that you have to do a building that seems a spaceship, a bug or some kind of amorphous thing.

up_today_arch · May 28, 2010

Good piece of classic architecture... No rendering, no 3d... just paper model before...

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