This single family residence on Lake Michigan mediates between site and beach conditions and is organized around four open-air, outdoor rooms in dialogue with the home’s interior spaces. The house is square in plan, and cutouts subtracted from its volume form courtyards that are lined with glass to bring in daylight. These courtyards are associated with daily activities and their location and arrangement is informed by use and time of occupation.
On the east is the entry courtyard; visitors cross a bridge spanning over a reflecting pool to access the front door; a single ornamental tree provides seasonal interest and shade. The house interior is organized in horizontal bands, the widest of which is the living/dining/kitchen space. Adjacent to the kitchen is the dining courtyard which receives early morning sun and provides shade in the late afternoon. Off of the living room, to the west is a deck oriented to the lake with a fireplace and views of the nearby lighthouse. The south courtyard serves as a beach entrance with outdoor shower.
Materiality is informed by the natural environment of the home’s lakeside site. Wood siding, charred black to be bug-, and rot-resistant, references beach bonfires common to the locale. Sandblasted glass references the (sand) beach; ground and polished concrete floors are made from stone aggregate found in the lake. Over time, sand hurled at the home by the wind which travels unimpeded over the lake will interact with the materials to further integrate them into the site.
The home is planned around four exterior courtyards which bring natural daylight deep into the plan at all times of day, reducing the need for artificial lighting and minimizing energy consumption. The courtyards allow the home’s surrounding site to remain in its natural state of dune land with beach grass.
Courtyards (4) facilitate cross-ventilation through the home and allow natural daylight to penetrate deep into the floor place, minimizing the need for artificial lighting and ventilation, thereby reducing energy use.
Solar fans on the roof are activated by photovoltaic cells to provide natural cross ventilation during the warm seasons to minimize the need for mechanical systems and electrical energy use.
Hydronic radiant heating throughout the home reduces energy use.
All appliances used in the home are Energy Star rated appliances.
Berrien Bus services the area near this single family residence, not served by another transit provider and serves to link riders between the transit providers. With 24 hour advance reservations, either individuals or groups may use the bus for shopping trips, visiting friends, medical, dental and other appointments.
Rainwater is captured and use in the reflecting pool in the home’s entry courtyard and for irrigation of courtyard plantings.
The building is predominantly constructed of renewable and local materials, which includes timber structure (LVL), FSC certified wood siding and hardwood floor.
Concrete floors and foundations contain locally sourced stone aggregate and cement.
Charred (shou-sugi-ban) wood technique makes the wood siding bug and rot resistant, eliminating the requirement for harmful VOC coatings and extending the cladding’s lifespan.
Cast glass glazing planks include recycled content.
Natural beach grass planted throughout the site minimizes site erosion.
Porous gravel driveway improves storm water management and storm water retention.
Courtyards and driveway use local stone and gravel.