The house was designed to serve both as a private getaway for the owners -a couple with grown children- and as a summer and winter vacation house for larger gatherings, with ample room for guests and a large extended family.
The house sits on a wooded hillside which slopes downhill to the south into an open clearing. The house itself is composed of two long, parallel, shed-roofed bars running east to west, perpendicular to the slope of the site.
The southern bar, which houses the living and dining spaces, is configured as a single enormous light-filled double-height volume. This bright and spacious room is surrounded by tall windows and opens onto a continuous exterior porch along its entire southern edge. The porch roof is configured to shade the tall living room windows during the summer but admit sunlight in winter -to provide solar heating- when the sun is lower in the southern sky. In order to keep the Living Space as open as possible while resisting the heavy winds on the tall southern facade, the southern bar of the house was constructed on a steel frame, insulated and clad on the exterior but exposed on the interior.
Where the open glassy southern bar is configured to maximize sunlight and collect winter solar heat, the northern bar houses the smaller scale, more private spaces and is designed to form an insulated weather-tight buffer to the severe northern exposure. Standing seam metal cladding extends continuously from the roof and down the northern facade of the house, creating a maintenance free envelope penetrated only by the entry airlock vestibule and by a few punched windows.
This configuration of the house -elongated on the east-west axis, with the long, open, glass-enclosed, seasonally shaded living space facing south across the sloping meadow and the tightly enclosed northern bar of smaller spaces providing an insulated buffer for the harsh northern exposure, provides an optimal configuration for a passive solar house --capturing winter solar heat and screening out summer sun while allowing ample cross-ventilation.
Designed in collaboration with Alfredo Brillembourg.