Located on a lake, in a northern climate that experiences harsh winters and temperate summers, this house is oriented to take advantage of the natural sun and wind patterns. In the winter, the coniferous trees act as a wind block while the large glass façade works as passive heating. In the summer, the glass façade opens to pull in the breezes off the lake, while the trees provide shade. The south and west sides have overhangs to act as sun shades in the summer, protecting the living spaces from the strong sun during the short lived summer. All of the spaces of the house foster a relationship with the outdoors by providing cooking, living, and bathing spaces set directly in the landscape.
Lake House is a modern vacation home located on the dunes of northern Lake Michigan. The 4,800 square foot cottage is an extensive renovation of an existing 2 bedroom home. The original foundations and staircase were maintained in order to allow re-building of the home within a restricted critical dune location. Space was added outside the restricted areas to accommodate 6 bedrooms and additional entertaining space for three generations of an extended family.
The house is rooted in the landscape of the dune with tall, solid volumes among the trees at the back of the site away from the lake. You approach the house from below, walking up the dune through a dense landscape of indigenous trees and groundcover. The house screens the view of the water and you only get a distant glimpse as you open the door and move into the glass entry foyer which is open and connected forest. As the spaces move towards the water, they become more transparent, following the slope of the land and incorporating the dune into exterior circulation. This gradual transition from solid to transparent, forest to water, allows for movement through the house to be similar to moving outside down the dune toward the beach.
Views have been carefully considered such that each interior space has its own view to the lake while simultaneously maintaining a feeling of seclusion. Outdoor spaces, stepping down toward the lake, are extensions of both the interior of the home and the landscape itself.