The architect purchased this property and decided to move into the existing house while phasing construction projects. The intention is for the project to be a laboratory for architectural experiments.
The site is in the country in a wooded area with rolling hills. The views are to the west and south. The existing house is located on the highest ground of the site on the edge of where the trees meet the native prairie grass meadow.
Ideas that informed the project:
1) The project has been built by the architect with his own hands. Each of the last 4 summers, college architecture students have been hired to assist with the design and construction. Each piece of the project was designed and then constructed, which allowed the design to continue to evolve as it was being constructed. Everything was custom designed and built on site: Panelization of walls, fabrication of custom hurricane clips, hybrid wood and steel wall structures, 5 staircase designs, 3 custom window frames, doors, floors, ceilings, and custom millwork.
2) The project is intended to continue for the rest of the architect’s life. It is a “work in progress” with many areas unfinished today, opportunities for tomorrow.
3) Green building techniques were integrated into the architecture: passive solar, natural ventilation insulated concrete forms, R-45 roof insulation, renewable materials, radiant flooring, heat pumps, and a green roof system.
4) The design explores ways to intertwine what is man-made with what is natural. The intention is to create a house that is so interconnected with the land that it is simultaneously natural and man-made. Much like abandoned tractors and farm machinery rusting away in the rural landscape.
5) The intent was to create open dynamic spaces that are defined and still feel connected to the larger whole. This was done by canting walls, pulling floors away from walls, creating mezzanine spaces, large window walls and stairs that seem to fly.