American Institute of Architects CT | 2013
People's Choice Awards "Residence"
House In The Meadow
The House in the Meadow is a home with many layers, responding to place, acknowledging the dichotomy between the public and private realms, and embracing the Client’s rituals and dreams. The residence combines new and old forms into a simple, classic and fully integrated home. It explores the common ground between the straightforward, patterned forms of New England architecture and an ordered abstraction of modernism. While the front exterior design hearkens the traditional, the exposed rear façade and the extensive use of renewable materials throughout are decidedly modern.
This new, 9,000 sq.ft., single-family residence, situated on a 4.4-acre horse pasture, pays homage to the simple, interconnected buildings of traditional New England farms. The Client longed for a warm, simple, inviting haven with clean lines and a clear and easy connection to the outdoors.
The house is built on a stone base, and thus emerges out of the natural setting. The public façade is experienced as a series of traditionally inspired volumes revealed as one drives along the road. The abstraction of these building forms allows the house to become part of the peaceful, surrounding meadow. The rear, west-facing, private façade is entirely glass, visually expanding the interior space into the breathtaking panorama. The living spaces are washed with natural light and the sunset becomes a design element.
Guests enter the house through a formal entry cottage that protrudes from the main house. They experience an intimate library to one side and a steel, curved stair to the other, as they are drawn forward into the openness of the family room, the heart of the main house. The family room is warm and inviting, though it’s vaulted ceiling, repetitive, over-sized windows, and 2-story steel and stone fireplace bring grandeur to the space, which set it apart from the rest of the house. The sculptural fireplace is designed as the modern interpretation of a fireplace surround. It is composed of 2 pieces of patinad steel, each of which weighs 3,000 pounds, resting against the fireplace masonry. The massive Connecticut field stone opening is 5’ by 5’, headed by a lintel of antique granite.
This project involves the creation of a subterranean landscape that connects the house to the media barn. The inspiration for the project which consists of an 800 sf 140 foot long, concrete tunnel, is a wormhole. Einstein's Theory of Relativity describes wormholes as a topological feature that would fundamentally be a shortcut across the universe by traveling on the space time relationship. A wormhole is much like a tunnel with two ends, each in separate points in space and time.
This wormhole is home to an iridescent slug that radiates light in a broad spectrum of wavelengths from her glowing translucent skin. The moody nature of this slug heightens awareness of the basic human emotional responses to color. The foreign aspect of the travel experience through the wormhole, provides a break from the humdrum of the everyday life.
The Theory of Relativity demonstrates that our perceptions are a function of our reference frame, and event that is irrational in one reference frame will become comprehensible when viewed in its proper frame of reference. This wormhole exists outside of typical reference frames. The underlying hope is that this place will enable freedom from a one-dimensional view of reality and teach that if we find our lives unsatisfying we are free to redefine.