Forest Lake House, a shadow among the trees
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Forest Lake House, a shadow among the trees

The house is a peaceful oasis, hidden in the forest bordering the shores of a lake

Pachano & Vollert

Forest Lake House, a shadow among the trees
By Editorial Staff -

The landscape of Berkshires, Massachusetts, is stunningly beautiful: lush forests, lakes, and mountains populate this corner of the planet, not too far from the big cities of New York and Boston.

This vacation spot, popular with families, couples, and hikers, is increasingly becoming a destination for wealthy professionals who want a calmer life in retirement, far from the noisy metropolises that surround the Berkshires.

Such is the case of two retired lawyers, dedicated to art as a passion-profession, who commissioned the firm Pachano & Vollert Architecture to design their home on the shores of a lake. Their two requests for the architects were the fusion of the house and nature, and the possibility to host the couple’s six children, while maintaining an intimate and tailored dimension.

 

Two volumes that meet

Forest Lake House, Pachano & Vollert ©Naho Kubota, courtesy of Pachano & Vollert

The result is a residence that is composed of two volumes, one a floor higher than the other, which meet forming a 10-degree angle, in relation to a maple tree that once occupied the side. Taking advantage of the local topography, which slightly declines from the road towards the lake, the house rests on the ground, accompanying the visitor towards the shore, with a large terrace that overlooks the forest and further on, the lake.

The exterior cladding of blackened wood and natural stone extracted from the site itself blur the confines of the architecture, blending it with the landscape, like a shadow that appears among the tree foliage.

“The idea was for the house to disappear or blend in, in appearance and size, almost like a shadow,” states Amparo Vollert, one of the founders of the firm. “From the lake, you barely notice it’s there. It’s discreet but intriguing, a house that invites exploration through its materials and connection with the landscape.” The materials were chosen to evoke the surrounding nature and specifically treated to increase their resistance and durability, to create a house that ages with time, accompanying its occupants through the years and the seasons.  

 

Nature enters every room

 Forest Lake House, Pachano & Vollert ©Naho Kubota, courtesy of Pachano & Vollert

Inside, the architects wanted to create a feeling of calm and serenity in each room. The environments were composed according to a fusion of intimate space and gathering places for the family, with one prerogative uniting each room: the view of the surrounding nature.

The spatial organization is articulated across the floors, with a large living area for gatherings lower down at lake-level, a private living area and the couple’s rooms in the middle, and the rooms with bathrooms for the guests on the upper level, in the taller volume.

Each room strongly features the surrounding landscape, which is framed like a painting by the openings that punctuate the façade. These are also used as a device to direct guests and give the house an orientation towards the outdoors.

The furniture includes both custom-designed furnishings by the architects and design pieces: selected according to a palette with soft and neutral tones, they communicate tactile and comforting sensations.

Natural materials were also used for the interior design, such as oak wood for the parquet flooring and the tailor-made cabinets; stone and marble for the countertops and fireplace; and onyx for the bathroom claddings. The architects aimed to bring the guest outdoors with this selection of organic materials – the surfaces, furniture and claddings put humans in touch with the nature outside the house.

>>> Discover Copake Lake House, a lake house near New York

Credits

Location: Berkshires, Massachussets, USA
Architects: Pachano & Vollert
Structural Engineer: Berkshire Engineering
Mechanical, Electrical, Pumbling Engineer: Baukraft
Lighting Designer: Pachano & Vollert
Contractor: 377 Builders

Photography by Naho Kubota, courtesy of Pachano & Vollert

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