The Projector house is a 2,600 s/f, 3bedroom, family residence turned vacation home on Thompson’s Point, a shoreline peninsula on Lake Champlain in Charlotte, Vermont. The home was designed within the existing footprint of a residence destroyed by fire a little over a year ago. While local zoning regulations required conformance to established setbacks, volume and square footage, the proximity to the lake, small lot size, close adjacency of neighboring homes, inspired a re-envisioning of the prior structure. The previous design seemed to be working against the site. The beauty of the property is its seasonally dynamic view of the lake, however the previous structure’s gabled roof pitched towards the lake, leaving the gable ends, the structures largest vertical surfaces, to face the adjoining lots of the neighbors, not the lake. The challenge of this project was to magnify the assets of the property, its seasonally dynamic view of the lake, in order to downplay its faults, small lot size and close adjacencies of neighboring homes. The concept of the projector was realized in an effort to intensify the view of the lake while obscuring the periphery, in much the same way a cone of vision is used in a drawing to regulate how much of a scene is visible within a given image. The architecture had to be formalized in relationship to the view, and If the lake is the perspective image or the picture plane and the structure becomes the cone of vision which frames of our view, then the form to acts as a projector, and the closer we get to the lake, the bigger the image or picture plane becomes, rendering peripheral objects (neighbors) static.
The picture plane takes the form of glass wall that covers the entirety of the south wall and wraps the eastern corner of the house. In the summer months, this wall receives limited direct sun from the east first thing in the morning. By mid-late morning the sun is circumvented by the expansive roof where it travels down the pitch to the west until the early evening keeping the house cool and breezy all summer. In the winter, when the sun is lower in the sky, the sun transmits heat through the glass wall until late in the afternoon heating the concrete floors inside creating a positive solar gain through the winter months. The 6” Horizontal shiplap siding is custom milled with a ¼” reveal that when applied with dark slate stain creates black lines in the shadows creating a forced perspective towards the lake. This gesture is continued in the interior with a 20’ shadow wall of 2” horizontal Douglas fir board set ¼” apart. The horizontal lines force the eye towards the lake, while creating a visible separation between public and private space. In the hallway and Den area, where there is no structure, the boards become a screen that allow light and shadow to pass while still maintaining a boundary between spaces.