East House (2012) by Peter Rose + Partners located in Chilmark, United States | The Hardt
East House (2012) by Peter Rose + Partners located in Chilmark, United States. Nestled into the native shrubs of the Martha’s Vineyard coastline, East House’s site-cast concrete façade welcomes tendrils of coastal vines while providing a robust barrier to New England’s coastal weather. The ten-inch-thick concrete walls are cast in the form of a collection of concrete boxes, relieved with sustainably harvested Spanish Cedar window frames, and oriented to achieve both subtle and dramatic responses to the landscape.
During design, a commissioned study revealed a rate of coastal bluff erosion that made both client and architect extremely uncomfortable with the siting of the residence. The solution was to cast the floors – formerly wood-framed – in concrete, making each box a three or four-sided structural unit that could be individually lifted and moved to a location far from the bluff, should erosion occur. The 4,000 square foot house is thus divided into concrete boxes – individually liftable with all interior finishes in place, and interstitial corridors – light wood framed zones that can be easily removed and rebuilt if the building is moved.
Each box has a rugged concrete exterior and is finished with interior stone floors. The interior walls are clad in Douglas Fir and Alaskan Cedar, which are soft to touch, but extremely durable in the rough coastal weather. Circulation travels along the interior figure of the boxes through interstitial spaces both rough-framed and finished in wood, and is choreographed to an ever-more-revealing experience of the site. Strategic through-views to surrounding greenery direct visitors from the entrance to a library and living area. Embedded in the natural landscape, East House is nearly invisible from points further up the slope.
The concrete shell is cantilevered over the landscape, allowing for expanses of glass along five walls. Operable windows pull back, and the gap between the concrete units amplifies the sound of the ocean, bringing it along with sea through the entire house. A planted roof caps each box individually, mitigating run-off while further visually integrating the building with the lush landscape. Rainwater is collected in the interstitial roofs, directed to a single Mahogany flue, and cast into a below-ground cistern for use in irrigation. Geothermal wells use the earth’s thermo-conductivity to temper living spaces, vastly reducing the size and cost of HVAC equipment. With radiant heating, calibrated window openings, and the thermal mass of concrete, the house creates natural ventilation and buffers summer heat gain.
© Matthew Snyder
© Chuck Choi
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Situated in Edgartown, United States, Island House (2012) by Peter Rose + Partners | The Hardt
Situated in Edgartown, United States, Island House (2012) by Peter Rose + Partners. Nestled in the richly wooded grounds of a narrow strip of land on the island of Chappaquiddick near Edgartown, Massachusetts, this single‐family residence is part of a collection of the environment‐ and landscape‐centric interventions that blur the boundaries between structures and landscape, and between inside and outside. Comprised of four structures – a 6,300 SF main residence, a 630 SF garage, a 270 SF storage shed, and a 13boathousehouse – the site is bounded by the ocean to the west and by a well‐protected, shallow bay to the east. The project replaced a house, garage/guest house, and a long driveway running through a meadow, previously located on the site
The site strategy involved moving the road from the middle of an existing meadow to a new location, winding through an oak and pine forest (without damaging any of the existing trees), and terminating it in a hidden courtyard – bounded by the garage, a utility shed, and the forest edge. In addition to providing a remarkable process of entry through the trees, the result of the new road location is that the cars and road, for the most part, disappear completely from view, altering both the scale and atmosphere of the site dramatically.
Located at the extreme edges of the site, on the water in both cases, the main house and boat house are carefully and strategically located, both in section and plan, to optimize the experience of being in and using these structures, while minimizing their environmental and visual impact on the site. The boathouse, sitting on four thin concrete columns, was stealthily sited among pine trees, and constructed without touching even a branch. The house works in plan and section so as to offer remarkable views of Nantucket and the sunrise over Cape Pogue Bay to the east, and of the ocean and Edgartown and sunset over water to the west. Locust trees on the western side of the house screen it from the late afternoon sun and provide camouflage as well. The house is low to the ground, clad in sealed, unpainted wood to naturally weather to recede over time into the surrounding landscape. One intention of the project is that it be as close to invisible in the larger landscape as possible.
To minimize the environmental impact of the new construction, the house deploys a suite of sustainability strategies that not only conserve energy, reduce waste, and save money, but also promotes intimate encounters between the house’s guests and its surroundings. The structure’s unassuming cedar‐clad façade belies a sophisticated building envelope, which utilizes rigid insulation and other strategies to withstand the hardiest of nor’easters. Where the façade lacks wood, it contains fully operable glass windows, created by a local craftsman who has developed a technique which allows corner windows to open completely, and large panels of glass to slide open along the exterior façade of the building, leaving nothing but the view and the ocean breezes. Strategically placed to encourage natural ventilation, these calibrated window openings work in concert with the structure’s radiant heating and cooling to modulate the residence’s living spaces and vastly reduce the size and operating cost of HVAC equipment. The residence’s southern exposure floods the interior with natural light, maximizing solar heat gain and minimizing electrical consumption, while green roofs – covered in natural seagrasses – provide greater thermal performance and roof insulation, improve air quality and biodiversity, manage rainwater, and reduce noise. The landscape was likewise considered in terms of sustainability using local species, and an irrigation system that uses water collected on green roofs and stored in a large cistern.
© Matthew Snyder
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