Fire Lane Retreat was designed by Wheeler Kearns Architects as a year round retreat for a Chicago family of six. The residence bridges a valley between two dunes on the shores of Lake Michigan in Michigan. Siting of the structure was determined in large part by constraints as set forth by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality with its intent of protecting the dunes and construction amongst them. The family’s desire was for a building which would immerse them in the landscape with expansive views of both the lake and land while inside and out. The exterior materials consisting of ipe, copper, weathering and stainless steel were selected for their longevity and low maintenance characteristics as well as their beauty.
The interior is similarly durable and low maintenance with its use of pine siding; ipe, basalt and cork flooring; basalt countertops and translucent glass shower enclosures. The interior is conditioned with a geo and solar thermal heating and cooling system. Provisions have been made to accommodate a future wind turbine for power generation. The living and dining rooms are on the first floor with bedrooms and a family room on the second. A separate guest quarter is provided above the garage to the north. The boardwalk which connects the two extends south to the screen porch and beach path beyond.
Photos: Christopher Barrett