Designed by BNIM, the 2011 AIA National Architecture Firm, the Midwest Retreat is located in rural Iowa. The retreat was designed as a venue for both social and business gatherings. Because of this dual use, the programmatic relationships and requirements depart in subtle but important ways from that of a typical residence. The retreat is located on a bucolic 700-acre site in the rolling hills of rural Iowa. When originally purchased, the property contained a mix of prairie, woodland and former farmland. With assistance from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, the owner has restored much of the fallow farmland and non-native woodlands back to its native prairie ecology. The building is approached from the south, by way of an existing gravel drive that traverses this prairie and woodland habitat. The retreat is sited in an existing clearing, and is surrounded by restored prairie that is allowed to grow up to the building's perimeter. With its siting in this clearing, as well as its form and materiality, the building echoes the agrarian typologies of the region. The building is elongated in an east/west direction in order to maximize daylight control and to highlight views of the pond to the east and the lone tree to the west.
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