The Crabills bought the five-acre property near Hillsborough, NC, with the intention of building a simple, modern home in a clearing amidst a lush forest. They wanted the house to disturb the natural environment as little as possible and accommodate local wildlife. “Our clients asked us to design a unique live/work house that inspire creativity and provides interesting spatial overlaps,” said project architect Katherine Hogan, co-owner of Tonic Design and Tonic Construction. “They also wanted it to be constructed in a simple and cost-effective way”. The architects sited the house carefully to avoid disturbing the natural environment, to maximize natural lighting, and to frame views of forest, including a favorite three-trunked tree. To reflect the rural setting, Petrarca specified simple, inexpensive materials and references to regional agricultural structures rendered in a modern architecture composition. Recalling old farm sheds, the house’s skewed cubic form is clad in solid and perforated COR-TEN®, a steel alloy developed to eliminate the need for painting. The steel forms a stable rust-like appearance when exposed to the weather. As a result, the house will be a constantly evolving element in the landscape as a rich patina develops over the years. The COR-TEN also acts as a rain screen, canopy, sunshade, and visual screen.
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