We were given the challenge of designing a zero-emissions house overlooking a pond on a site constrained by wetlands. Our client had an interest in permanence and solidity and a desire to work with architectural concrete. Additionally, the client desired interiors that would showcase their substantial art collection. Our design approach began with the footprint of an L-shaped courtyard house, which in part, was determined by the limited buildable area. The house, which is currently under construction, is sited on a natural rise in the land, allowing the first-floor elevation to rise 15 ft above the pond’s surface; this height provides dynamic views through the trees that separate the house from the pond. Ultimately, our design leverages the inherent capabilities of architectural concrete i.e. its structural capacity; the material allows for bold cantilevers and expanses of glass, creating greater transparency between interior and exterior environments.
The interior palette is comprised of rift sawn oak with 16-inch-wide oak plank flooring, oak casework and millwork, a stainless steel and glass main staircase, and minimalist concrete details throughout. On the upper level, the plan accommodates a master bedroom suite, three children’s bedrooms, and a family room. The first floor includes a guest bedroom, living room, kitchen, dining room, office, and family room. The ground level has a recreational room, a mudroom, and office/studio. The site plan employs native plantings and includes a small resistance pool in the courtyard.
Concrete will be utilized for all of the house’s structural and insulation components. This method modulates the fluctuation of interior temperature, creating both an energy-efficient envelope and enough concrete mass to keep temperatures moderate and consistent throughout a 24-hour day. The employment of triple-glazed windows and a triple-glazed aluminum curtain wall further increases the project’s energy efficiency and allows the house to have abundant glass. Natural light permeates the interior and affords spectacular view in all directions of both Todd Pond and the neighboring woodlands.