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  1. ArchDaily
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  5. Min | Day
  6. 2008
  7. House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day

House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day

  • 01:00 - 20 June, 2010
House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day
House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day, © Paul Crosby Architectural Photography
© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography © Paul Crosby Architectural Photography © Paul Crosby Architectural Photography © Paul Crosby Architectural Photography +31

  • Location

    West Lake Okoboji, Iowa, United States
  • Project Team

    Nicholas Papaefthimiou, Kristine Mummert, Matt Cavin, Christina Kaneva, Jeff Davis, Matt Goldsberry
  • Project Year

  • Photographs

  • Landscape Design

    Min | Day
  • Lighting Design

    HLB Lighting Design / Min | Day
  • Client

    Paul & Annette Smith
  • Size

    6000 square feet
  • More SpecsLess Specs

“It’s all about the lake,” was our clients’ direction when we began designing this vacation home in rural Iowa.

© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography
© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

Located in rural Iowa, Lake Okoboji is a part of a glacial lake system surprisingly located amidst endless cornfields, 2.5 hours from the nearest metropolitan area. The house sits on a diminutive lot on the dense shoreline where old cottages and new McMansions sit tightly together. Our strategy resulted in a deceptively simple footprint that minimized the size of the house on the site while allowing for a series of spatial frames within the house that focus on the view while excluding the neighbors. This allowed for a sense of total privacy within the house itself. Additionally, the lake itself is ringed by numerous oak trees which form beautiful a canopy around the lake, separating it from the corn fields.

© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography
© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

Volumetrically simple from the exterior, opaque and slatted vertical Ipe clads a stacked set of spatial tubes (the primary living spaces) that are open to the lake and woods views, but visually closed to neighbors on the sides. We formed the house’s spatial tubes around view axes running through the site, perceptually linking the lake through the forest to the fields beyond. These view-framing tubes are literal voids in the mass of the house bounded at their ends only by glass. Light and air also enters these rooms through operable windows set behind the slatted Ipe cladding. Dense service spaces (“program solids”) fill the remaining volume.

© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography
© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

The first level is dominated by continuous subtly amorphous space that opens to the exterior in with lake views in several directions. This space bounds the primary living spaces while suggesting connections and extensions to the surrounding landscape, lake and sky.

© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography
© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

In contrast to the spatial tubes of the public areas, the smaller private spaces (bedrooms and bathrooms) are treated with a pronounced sense of interiority. As spaces become increasingly intimate, the intensity of color increases as well. All interior surfaces in these rooms are subsumed by intense color to the extent that each feels like a zone of pure color.Here color becomes equivalent to the Lake that dominates the spatial tubes, providing and autonomous interiority in contrast to the site-oriented "tubes". Color becomes an important tool of space making, an additional layer that can reinforce or contradict the other components of spatial geometry, intensifying the experience or adding complexity.

© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography
© Paul Crosby Architectural Photography

In addition to the house and site, we were also responsible for all furniture, fabrics and finishes in the house. We selected and supplied most of the furniture, designed window coverings and selected custom fabrics for many of the furniture selections. We designed and fabricated several feature tables for the house, including a custom, CNC-milled cabinet for the master bedroom.

Cite: "House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day" 20 Jun 2010. ArchDaily. Accessed . <>
Read comments


Addison P. Wheeler · March 20, 2012

House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day | ArchDaily

jual kaos,desain kaos,kaos mur · March 19, 2012

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helios AD · September 05, 2011

absolutely brilliant! great sense of materiality

olesja · July 29, 2011

It reminds me of Louis Kahn's Fisher House. Much more modern though. Well done.

Maximiliano Michel · December 04, 2010

House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day | ArchDaily
que buena casa!

felipecfinger · August 21, 2010

@andrestahnke Dá uma olhada nesse projeto.. Olha como os caras usam os painéis de osb!! irado!!

Kostas Bachas · August 21, 2010

Contrasts, surprises, breathtaking views, care for detail: House on Lake Okoboji / Min | Day | ArchDaily via @archdaily

Home Decor News · June 21, 2010

Beautiful house, I can't wait to share this with the community. I especially love the wall of windows it reminds me of my mother's house. In my opinion, it is crucial to have many windows on the lake front homes since the view is priceless and should not be wasted.

kaos · June 21, 2010

well done, i like the osb-walls

Rwhoutx · June 21, 2010

Gorgeous except for (in my opinion only) the osb inside. I also think the interior, while visually stunning, may be too sophisticated for a lake house; the client said it was all about the lake, but I cannot envision kids, wet from swimming all day, dragging themselves, their buddies and some sticks that they found up to that gorgeous room, and then, laying it all on the table in order to build a fort for the frogs that they found...

twilliams · June 21, 2010

Absolutely amazing house! Who would have thought Okoboji would be on archdaily.

Teo · June 20, 2010

B E A U T I F U L!
Except for that flake board and the carpet, it's an eyesore.

ygogolak · June 20, 2010

Now this is what Min|Day is capable of. Much better than the directors residence.

wpgmb · June 20, 2010

i seem to like the interior more than the exterior. maybe because of all that flakeboard.

Tom · June 20, 2010

Good the new mobile ui! Congratulation!

amj · June 20, 2010


pi · June 20, 2010

it`s really beatiful..simple and perfectly connected with the surrounding..i would like to live there :)

eili · June 20, 2010

simply beautiful from the outside - but i can´t stand the flake board solution combined with the carpet in the living area.
this is 2 much 4 my eyes.
apart from that, these wooden flake boards emit stuff like formaldehyde etc. when not specially treated..

Jeff · June 20, 2010 11:53 PM

Note: The OSB ("flake board") used in this house is formaldehyde-free. It is not specially coated but free of VOC in the first place.


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