reform developed the design of this house for a couple in suburban Washington, DC in collaboration with A2 Design, Inc.. The lot is extremely secluded and backs up to a Woodland Preservation Area, so privacy and the view are guaranteed for the life of the home. In order to take full advantage of the site, we developed a scheme that would appear to be nearly opaque from the road, yet would be almost completely transparent on the private side of the residence. A tower element was added to anchor the house to the site while the roof’s continuous surface acts as a protective wrapper, peeled away to open up specific views and allow maximum light into the living areas of the home.

Within the house, none of the interior partitions extend to the roof, creating a more intimate feel and connecting all of the rooms in the main living pavilion. The creation of multiple ‘zones’ within the house, separated by custom millwork or furniture components, allowed maximum flexibility within each of the resulting programmatic bays. The house also includes a guest pavilion which was to house the couple’s elderly parents, giving them individual privacy while keeping them close enough to provide adequate care.

One of the primary requests of the client was to provide a sustainable and maintenance free house. We selected long lasting, and durable materials which would require minimal upkeep, and attempted to minimize the footprint of the house. Power would be provided by a solar array on the roof, and natural ventilation would help keep the house cool in the summer while a wood burning stove would provide heat in the winter. The glazed (private) side of the house faces the North, allowing for maximum daylight with minimal glare or heat gain.

The design process was fostered by extensive materials research in an attempt to meet the stringent performance criteria of each component of the house. The resulting design is a house which meets both the needs and desires of the client – all contained within an elegant, maintenance free, minimalist shell.

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