- Architect In Charge: Devin O’Neill
- Structural Engineer: Ross Dalland
- City: Sheffield
- Country: United States
Text description provided by the architects. In order to heighten how it relates to its surroundings, the architects took a simple house to the extreme. One end of this stretched, elongated house is anchored into the hill, while the other floats over marshy wetlands. When it rains, the water literally runs under the house: next to the entry footbridge, a boulder strewn rain garden cascades underneath the house to the meadow beyond.
Built for a nature loving couple who is retiring to the countryside, the house integrates ‘aging in place’ into its design. The house is all on one level, sited so that the landscape rises and plunges on all four sides, in order to visually counteract the future loss of mobility. In order to maximize the experience of outdoors, the screened porch can be enjoyed year-round, thanks to a large fieldstone fireplace and interchangeable screened and glass wall panels. Taking human (and canine) centered design into account, windows on all sides frame key vistas; up towards the orchard, down to the lake, and across to the woods. Two low windows are strategically placed so the dogs can look out as well.
True to their aesthetic, O’Neill Rose Architects paired their sensitive approach to siting with clean, light filled interiors. Streamlined references to the rural vernacular can be found in details like the turn buckle ceiling cables. As with other projects, key furniture and lighting is designed and fabricated by the architects, including the blackened steel light fixtures and the blue cypress wood dining enclosure.
Product Description. One of the principal materials in this project is cypress. We like to re-interpret context in a way that highlights both the newness of our work and casts the original context in a new light. The agricultural buildings in the area, which are simple wood framed structures with field stone bases, really resonated with us. The stone bases anchor the buildings to the ground, and the lighter, wood structures engage the surrounding site. We felt this gesture was really appropriate, and we could use it to really call attention to the building’s position within it’s site. We chose to clad the building in vertical boards of cypress, stained with ebony, because it is a really beautiful wood, and the translucent stain showcased its beauty.
We used it at the interior as well; cypress with the same ebony stain as the exterior creates the ‘house within the house’ that the kitchen service bar inhabits, while a special blue stained cypress enclosure plays double duty as a kitchen banquette enclosure, a spatial divider within the open plan.