A House In The Woods
A House in the Woods by William Reue melds organic and geometric forms in the landscape.
At one of their first meetings, William Reue’s client handed him a piece of paper bearing a rough sketch of the home that she had been imagining for the last 25 years. Her preliminary drawing centered on a curving Cor-Ten steel wall. And it was this defining feature, calling to mind Richard Serra’s monolithic sculptures, that served as the starting point for the 4,800-square-foot retreat in upstate New York.
Sitting at the foot of the Shawangunk Mountains, the house, sheltered by Norway spruces, overlooks the expanse of the Hudson Valley. Its exterior is defined by the curved wall and a blocklike mass of local bluestone. Radial-saw marks from the manufacturer left streaks on the stone cladding, making the house appear as if it has been “cut from the earth,” says Reue.
The owner, a single woman, wanted public and private spaces for herself and her guests. The 125-foot-long steel wall on the north face inflects circulation inside the house around its bent form, and through the communal spaces—the living and dining areas and kitchen, where it gradually terminates in the secluded guest quarters on the southwest end. To amplify the light, Reue topped the house with a gently sloping roof above floor-to-ceiling windows, and painted the drywall of the curved interior surface off-white.
The architect implemented a number of energy-saving solutions for the LEED-Silver residence, from using structural insulated panels (SIPs) to employing rainwater harvesting and geothermal heating systems. With its green technologies and warm palette, the house fits into its forested landscape while minimizing its environmental footprint.
Gross square footage: 4800 SQFT
Completion Date: February 2013
Personnel in architect's firm who should receive special credit:
James Teese, Jr. (Project Team)
Architect of record:
Wood-Burning Fire Place
Paints and Stains:
Floor and wall tile:
Other unique products that contribute to sustainability:
2. UltraTouch Natural Cotton Insulation (interior Partitions)
3. Super-Insulated Room (6' Rigid Insulation on Exterior Roof + High Density Spray Foam on Interior Roof)
4. 14' Thick SIPS exterior wall construction with Taped Seams
5. Direct Exchange Geo-Thermal Heating System by Earthlinked
6. Energy Recovery Ventilator