Text description provided by the architects. The Dogwoodtrot House is aptly named as a synthesis of the strong vernacular typology of a dogtrot house and the woodland hillside site to create a modern model for a suburban home located within Dogwood Canyon in northwest Fayetteville, Arkansas. The home denies the common McMansion typology of the surrounding context and instead creates useful, purposeful, and poetic spaces that capture the dynamics of the site while clearly organizing important interior and exterior spaces for the large family rendered in a simple, warm, and elegant palette.
The heavily sloped site embraces two embedded wings of brick and glass with a playful mass timber bridge clad in vertical redwood spanning across. The redwood wraps the underbelly of the bridge and is the tableau for a constructed ‘constellation’ of ephemeral lighting that creates an inviting entry terrace to channel prevailing winds, receive one to the home, and frame views to the ravine and hillside beyond. The project is purposefully designed so the daily experience of arriving home (day or night) is an equally welcoming experience to that of the occasional visitor, a stark contrast to the overly-formal and rarely-used front door and foyer that defines the traditional and unfavorable McMansion typology.
The southern wing of the home contains the garage, storage, and game room and is oriented specifically to cut down on midday solar gain to the outdoor bridge terrace. It is stable and simple in form, with minimal articulation, a constructed stone akin to one that could be found on the given natural site.
The northern wing holds the primary family spaces of living, kitchen, dining and master suite all nestled into the wooded surroundings. Ample windows deliver natural light and frame views while the family hearth anchors the embedded and carved brick form to the site. The kitchen, the hub of family life, serves as the landing point for the central stair, where the children’s wing, master wing, entry, and interior and exterior living spaces converge in a rich palette of wood. Large accordion doors open the living space to the bridge terrace and garden planters to create a dynamic indoor/outdoor space for daily family life and entertaining.
Housing the children’s bedrooms and study spaces, the bridge wing formally slides into the northern family wing with a continuous redwood ceiling in the kitchen and a skylight on either side that allows the bridge to perfectly articulate its formal relationship. This playful structure gently sits on top of the southern wing, similar to a tree felled across a ravine striking a perfect balance on a hillside stone. The exposed trusses of the bridge are prevalent in every space of the upper level, providing striking expressive details.
The Dogwoodtrot House is a striking modern home rendering material and structural expressiveness on a dynamic woodland hillside, organized around a central covered space that hearkens to the vernacular dogtrot typology in lieu of the overwrought context of suburbia. Strong interior and exterior connections emphasized by a 30’ clear span bridge of bedrooms defines the carefully articulated form of the home.