4 Springs Lane is a contemporary custom home designed by Robert M. Gurney Architect, sited on 24 acres of rolling topography, open fields and woodlands in Rappahannock County, Virginia. Extensive site investigation, including erecting scaffolding at various locations, resulted in the placement of the house high on one of the hills, overlooking a meadow at the base of woodlands.
From the architect: The house is organized as a series of volumes, arranged linearly and positioned to optimize distant views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
The structure itself becomes a threshold and defines a more intimate, manicured outdoor environment between the house and the edge of the forest. The linear organization allows the majority of spaces to maintain mountain views while providing accessibility to a terrace with the swimming pool and the manicured area. The two-story living / dining space has floor-to-ceiling glass at each end, providing a lens through which to view the mountains from the terrace.
The rigorous, refined and geometric forms of the building are designed in sharp contrast to the undulating, natural landscape. The contrast is intended to magnify the beauty of the site while allowing the house to provide a framework to view the landscape. These views become the orienting device. Simple volumes comprised of glass, wood, stone and fiber cement panels are combined to render a more complex composition while garnering a serene unity.
Interior spaces are active and intricate, tranquil and minimal. With vistas in all directions, large expanses of glass allow the landscape views to provide the primary sensory experience.
A geothermal HVAC system, energy efficient appliances, wall and ceiling infrastructure with maximum insulation, a rain-screen cladding system, extensive daylighting and solar-sensored shades are employed with the expectation of reducing fossil fuel consumption. Large operable windows and doors are placed to provide natural ventilation.
This house is pragmatic and pristine. Proportion, texture and light organize and animate the project. The composition is simultaneously complex and distilled. Most importantly, the house provides a framework to experience an inherently beautiful landscape.
Photos: Maxwell MacKenzie
Blue Ridge Residence is a striking steel and glass home designed by New York City-based studio Voorsanger Architects, located on a 200-acre farm in Charlottesville, Albermarle County, Virginia. read more
+2edison7 is a stunning renovated LEED platinum residence by Studio 27 Architecture, located at the corner of 27th and Edison Street in Arlington, Virginia. Before the renovation, the home was a modest, two-story colonial, built in the post-war moment when houses were small and cars were large. Today, this mid-century residence is a graceful composition of brick, glass and wood-accented rain screen known as +2edison7—Studio Twenty Seven Architecture’s playfully disjunctive name for this high-performing renovation with humble bones.
As the personal home of one of the principals at Studio Twenty Seven Architecture, this home was a design and research project that sought to revitalize a typical suburban residential building with modern amenities and sustainable retrofits while adjusting the building’s spacial program to account for site conditions and orientation. The renovation more than doubled the volume of the original building, from 1,300 square feet to 2,800 square feet; yet its systems operate at more than 60 percent greater efficiency than before.
The stairway draws inspiration from the way that light dapples down through two maple trees which were on the site. A photo of the maple leaves was adapted to a pixelated contrast pattern and then translated to a template for milling machine, which then milled the wood.
Despite substantially up-sizing the house, the architect’s research led the firm to maintain the neighborhood scale as a reference point. Working off of the existing masonry core, the architects realigned and expanded the home away from the public street and towards the quiet of its garden. The density and rhythm of the neighborhood suggested a design based around scale modulation and precise viewpoints. The house massing builds from the scale of the original core, and a new addition up top opens the house to the site situation. Each window was carefully located to mediate the public-private threshold of the site, focusing on the most compelling views yet allowing privacy and capitalizing on daylighting. The result is a house that is open, capacious and airy from the inside, but discreet and slightly introverted from the exterior.
Sustainable strategies further reduced resource consumption, including energy-efficient LED and CFL lighting, and ENERGY STAR appliances and ceiling fans. To minimize water use, dual-flush and low-flow toilets are used, and showers and faucets are equipped with low-flow aeration devices. Water usage for this single-family home has been cut in half. Additionally, the house’s original wood floors were salvaged, and supplemental flooring was provided by sustainably and regionally harvested forest providers associated with FSC. Countertops are recycled porcelain, glass and mirrors suspended within an epoxy resin. The exterior is a palette of durable, low-maintenance and high recycled content products such as integral color cement board and epoxy resin color panels. Reduced care requirements on products ultimately reduce continued chemical and manufacturing requirements, while also allowing the homeowners to spend more time in their garden.
The home has garnered multiple certifications, including USGBC’s LEED BD+C: Homes v3 Platinum and Home Innovation Research Labs (HIRL, formerly the NAHB Research Center) National Green Building Standard (NGBS) Gold Level. It is also certified as an EPA ENERGY STAR New Home, EPA Indoor airPLUS home, and locally at the Gold level in the Arlington County Green Home Choice award. Finally, the yard is a National Wildlife Federation Certified Wildlife Habitat. Indeed, +2edison7 may hold more sustainability accolades than any post-war tract home in the mid-Atlantic.
Photos: Courtesy of Studio 27 Architecture
This lakeside cottage retreat designed by Barnes Vanze Architects is located on a private community island on the eastern shore of the Chesapeake Bay, Virginia. The two and a half acre wooded site slopes down from the road to a fresh water lake. Inspired by the informal character of the owner’s previous house on the island and the cottages in the area, the architects goal was to provide a comfortable home for the family where they could spend their summers entertaining while enjoying the amenities of the site.
The first floor is organized around the kitchen, with half walls opening to the stair hall and views of the lake and the screened porch. The living room and master bedroom in the rear of the house have sweeping views of the water. A deck and screened porch extend the living spaces to a large patio with an outdoor kitchen. A meandering path through the woods leads to a dock on the lake. Tucked in the dormers on the second floor are children’s and guest bedroom suites. The basement houses a large game room, family room and bar, all with views of the water.
Photos: Anice Hoachlander from Hoachlander Davis Photography
Sundial House has been designed by Eugene Stoltzfus Architect as a beautiful country home situated in Harrisonburg, Virginia that has been developed from the urban concept of two houses unified by the street between them. The integration of the site positioning, the floor plans, the 3 dimensional form, the massing of masonry and the orientation toward the view and the sun, give this passive solar house its distinctive character.
The South House, comprised of 3,660 square feet of living space includes the kitchen, dining room, and living room. It is open to the street, with no interior walls. The North House, comprised of 2,340 square feet with a full basement, including garage, is divided into private rooms: bedrooms, office, laundry, and bathrooms.
The street acts as an Atrium and contains circulation in 3 dimensions: across between the two houses, lengthwise from entrance to back door, and vertically by stair from the basement to the ground floor and on up to the second floor. The Atrium roof holds the skylight with the center rod whose shadow allows the inhabitants of this house to tell time on the walls and floors of this perfectly oriented house.
Photos: Courtesy of Eugene Stoltzfus Architect
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