Location: Hendersonville, North Carolina
Completion Date: TBA
Project Team: Frank Harmon, Matthew Griffith
The clients’ property is situated along a steeply sloped, heavily wooded ravine in the mountains of North Carolina. They asked us for a modern house that embodied the tactile qualities of the mountains and allowed the beauty of the surrounding landscape to dominate. Requested spaces include an artist’s studio, living room, master and guest suites, a study/library, and a goat barn.
Our Design Response
Taking cues from the land, we designed “Winterview” as a clearing in the forest and a compound of spaces arranged around a south facing central courtyard. The approach is up a narrow mountain road, from which the house will reveals itself as a wood shingled shell covered in moss, barely distinguishable from the land. The entry to the L-shaped house will be a breezeway that will separate guest quarters and the main living space, and serves as an immediate threshold between forest and clearing.
The wood-shingled roof will hover above a locally harvested stonewall that will be made from the same rock outcropping on which the house will sits. The wall will wrap the L-shaped house and culminate in a great hearth. Large openings on the north wall will frame spectacular views of Mt. Pisgah and allow light to filter into the kitchen, living room, and master bedroom. The stonewall will mediate between the built and natural environment and provide a sense of prospect and refuge from within.
The design of the roof and breezeway will takes advantage of local wind patterns and passive ventilation to create a Venturi effect: Cool summer breezes will accelerate through the courtyard, house, and breezeway, while cold northern winds will be blocked by the low-slung roof and stonewall on the north wall. The artist studio will be sunken into the southwest corner of the courtyard, providing privacy and views from the house over its sod roof to the mountainside beyond.
Natural light, contrasting natural materials, and carefully articulated views will all contribute to a design grounded in a primordial connection to the natural environment, giving the client a sense of living within nature.