LOCATION / PENNSYLVANIA, PA
This private residence is located on a 90 acre site in rural Pennsylvania containing diverse landscape conditions. We sited the house between two of the most different conditions: a step wooded ravine and an open sloping meadow. These environments provided dramatically different views. The framing of these views and the relationship between the house and the topography were primary considerations in the design of the house.
By occupying the boundary between the steep wooded ravine and open sloping meadow, the house creates four very different quadrants with different views and different relationships between house and landscape. The sheltered entry on the west side is at grade with the house embedded into the landscape and views out into a wooded hill. On the north side the living room spans over the steep, vegetated landscape of the ravine and the stream below. On the east side it cantilevers over a sloped landscape defined by the ravine and the meadow and a long view into the valley and hills beyond. The living room flows out to the open meadow and expansive views and sunlight on the south side. The interior spaces and circulation developed in relation to these conditions.
First developed as a simple bar, the project developed into a more complex three-pronged scheme in order to emphasize the difference between the four quadrants. The third prong developed as a way to create a contained protected entry. All schemes engage the site via careful consideration of movement through the house. The house is approached from a higher elevation on the west. From this approach it reveals itself in a clearing as an embedded, opaque form emerging from the ground to define an enclosed entry along a long closed wall. Entering the house reveals the open view at grade across the meadow and the valley. The steep wooded ravine opens up below you as you approach the north side of the living room. The master bedroom is cantilevered above the meadow and the ravine.
The house takes advantage of passive heating, cooling and lighting strategies. Geothermal systems provide radiant floor heating and cooling. A deep roof overhang takes advantage of sun angle changes to provide additional heat and light in winter and shade and cooling in summer. Insulation reduces heat loss in winter and heat gain in summer helping to naturally stabilize temperatures in conjunction with the geothermal system. Operable windows are located to allow cross ventilation and take advantage of the temperature differential between the wooded ravine and the open meadow.