Nestled on a deep wooded site, this modern house is designed for a young family to create open, flexible spaces for living and playing that allow the indoor and outdoor spaces to merge. Entering the site between mature Spruce and White Pine trees, the L – shaped plan creates a car court and play area under a landmark Tamarack tree. The landscape was sculpted to create a series of flat activity spaces extending the house into the site from the main and lower levels. This site design included a ‘land pier’ with a terrace off the kitchen, shaping the transition between the main and lower level grade. The flat play spaces are maintained grass while the land pier and perimeter areas are a low maintenance fescue grass for natural sustainability.
The client sought an industrial modern architecture to reflect their European heritage as a compliment of contrast to the natural landscape. The non-maintenance exterior is composed of folded planes of black concrete block as a sculptural base, which is expressed inside the house. The upper level contains the bedroom wing and a play space over the garage. These two forms rest on the black base as ochre and gray fiber cement panels. The aluminum windows create expansive views on the main level and draw in natural light through clerestory glass on the upper level. Dark Slate and Red Birch floors and custom Birch cabinetry extend the materials palette on the interior. The quality of space and materiality was accomplished for a modest $135 per square foot, including landscape.