This 200 sq m detached house is sited on a meadow surrounded by woods close to a small private lake in New York’s Hudson Valley.
An elongated, yet compact rectangular box, the house sits lightly on the ground. Simplicity and practicality combine with elegance and cost effectiveness. On the interior, the ground floor has a large living area with porch and kitchen. Upstairs are the bedrooms, study and a central area whose glass floor lets light into the rooms below. More than just a striking design, the two different styles of façade are also a key functional feature. The north and south elevations have an outer skin of perforated stainless steel panels mounted on a frame with tubular uprights. This perforated screen gives a veiled image of the house behind. Punctured only by continuous slot windows on the lower part, the screen extends, full-height, beyond the volume of the house to create a protected porch.
The short east and west sides, in contrast, are full-height glazed façades. Located on these short sides, the entrances are sheltered by the extended metal screen. The main entrance at the eastern end, tucked against the woods, opens into the main double-height entrance hall where a staircase against a central wall leads to the upper floor. On the west side, a double height porch leads into the living room, at the same time providing the upstairs bedrooms with daylight and views.The house is bathed in natural light, the atmosphere and external views changing as the day proceeds. Light streams in from the wide glazed walls on the short sides and the long slot window on the north and south façades. Twelve oval skylights on the roof give further light and views of the changing sky. On every part of the house, the glazed lights blur the distinction between inside and out.
Only functional, resistant and economical materials have been employed. Inside, walls, flooring and ceilings are clad in maple plywood, which has also been used for the made-to-measure furniture and built-in wardrobes. Standard commercial fluorescent light fixtures recessed into narrow slots on the walls provide inexpensive, but elegant lighting in keeping with the furnishings.
The perforated stainless steel screen protects the house against summer heat and keen winter winds. The cavity between the outer panels and the inner wall acts as a thermal buffer ensuring comfort zone temperatures. The house is orientated to catch the cool summer breezes. Operable windows and skylights allow air circulation. This, together with the screen shield, keeps the house cool in summer without the need for air conditioning.