The character of this densely wooded, steeply sloping site is further defined by a vertical rock ledge to the east and a creek prone to seasonal flooding to the west. These dramatic elements informed the placement of this home’s buildings and how landscape, views, and daylight would be integrated into the design. The project embraces a “machine in the garden” approach, in which contemporary vocabulary and minimal form amplify by contrast the relationship between built work and natural landscape.
Early strategy focused on preserving as much of the natural topography as possible while shaping terraces and opening the site to daylight and longer views. A 200-foot long board-formed concrete retaining wall along the site’s east edge exposes new plateaus for buildings, garden, and meadow. Clinging to this wall, the guesthouse anchors the building assembly in the steep hillside, while the main house and deck project out from the landform into the treetops. Laid perpendicular to the retaining wall, a linear bluestone path connects guesthouse to house, directs access to the front doors, and leads to the west balcony overhanging the creek below.
A minimal materials palette evokes both rusticity and precision, reflecting the juxtaposed orders of landscape and architecture and enhancing their relationship. Buildings are clad in a high performance rain screen of knotty western red cedar boards, milled to three unique profiles to generate a pattern that changes with the sun’s movement. The boards are organized within vertical bays delineated by aluminum T-sections, producing a textured rhythm that accommodates openings, fenestration, and screens. Lattice volumes created with aluminum L-sections indicate primary entrance to both buildings, while screening interior spaces from exposure to southern sun. Building interiors are entirely white, emphasizing the play of light, the client’s collection of art, and views of the landscape.