Though inspiration sometimes emerges slowly, it can also flash unexpectedly, like a bolt of lightning'as it did the first time architects Julie Snow and Matthew Kreilich caught a glimpse of their clients' site along Minnesota's Lake Minnetonka.
The cottage wasn't salvageable. But that sense of portal and framing became essential in designing its replacement: a weekend getaway for a family of four based in Minneapolis, about a 25-minute drive away.
Minimizing the house's footprint, the architects designed a 7,200-square-foot primarily wood-frame building made of two L-shaped volumes. By propping one volume perpendicularly across the other, the architects created a broad gateway to the lake. The main living areas (with a master suite above them in an extruded second floor), occupy the more grounded L, clad in black-stained cedar and set on an east'west axis. The spanning, north'south component with its contrasting natural-cedar siding, contains the children's rooms. A skylit sculptural stair connects the two volumes where they intersect.
Just inside an upper-floor window in the bridging volume, the owners hung a painting proclaiming 'The Final Frontier' in bold letters. Highly visible through the window as you approach the house, it reads like a title for the framed panorama. 'That was an unplanned gesture,' says Kreilich, 'but I think it playfully sums up the clients' feelings about this lakeside retreat.'
Gross square footage: 8,667sq ft (7,187 without Garage and Mechanical)
Completion Date: September 2013
Snow Kreilich Architects
527 Marquette Avenue
2400 Rand Tower
Minneapolis, MN 55402
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