2.2 acre site is nestled in the hills of the Platte river valley. Thick prairie vegetation framed by Burr Oak and aggressive hillsides frame the park-like setting. Harsh sun patterns fill an open section of the site creating a field of light to contrast the heavily tree-lined hillsides.
The owners, a couple close to semi-retirement, wanted an open program to digest the views and merge the house with the rough prairie landscape. The open idea was also in contrast to their desire to be shielded from the harsh sun pattern. To achieve this, an idea of zone methodology was employed across the site. Recalling the farming patterns nearby, strips were superimposed over the site to act as zones. Private, semi-private and public strips or zones developed horizontally and vertically – in plan and in section.
The zones become large volumes as they move to the northeast. To assist in shade, the roofing system expands over the southwest and covers yet another zone or, “outer zone”. This zone becomes a controlled area of landscape to create a sequence into the house and define tectonic and natural elements. A cast concrete wall defines the controlled zone not only on the land but also through openings that frame views from and into the house.
Walls are made of cast concrete for a feeling of permanence and clear division of the zones. To contrast, the transparent elements which allows the natural setting to expand into the house while also allowing transitional elements to continue the blur of outside and inside. The project utilizes a minimal palette of materials to contrast, strengthen and utilize the natural setting.