Construction has completed on a 3,600 sq.ft. contemporary home in Sheffield, Massachusetts, designed by Vincent Appel / Of Possible and built by Kent Hicks Construction. The home is a marriage of spatial poetry and building science. The timeless craft of traditional New England construction is met with the most advanced building science principles and technologies resulting in a contemporary expression of rural American architecture that will last for generations.
▼住宅北立面，View from the North ©Rory Gardiner
▼平面图，plan ©Of Possible
The site on which the client grew up as child in a colonial home rebuilt by their parents is located fifteen minutes south of Great Barrington, Massachusetts. The original two story home on the property proved unsustainable for late life living and was relocated nearby for the client’s sister. The ambition for the new home became the creation of a contemporary design with a nod to the local vernacular architecture. The clients were looking for an architecture that engaged the memories of the original home on the site from their youth, which included an apple orchard, barn, and horse corral to the east, a long yard and gardens to the south, an evergreen and wetland ravine to the north, and a grand maple tree with a 70-foot canopy to the west. The clients were torn between wanting a glass house and something more traditional.
▼从谷仓望向住宅，View from barn ©Rory Gardiner
▼北立面局部，North facade partial view ©Rory Gardiner
The result is a home where every window and door is a floor to ceiling picture frame of the spaces of memory throughout the property. The architectural finishes are a sober palette chosen to enhance the effect of these frames against the ever-changing seasonal New England landscape. Moving through the home over the course of the day, one is drawn from the inside spaces to the outside landscape. Similarly, when one approaches the home from the outside, the large terraces create similar exterior frames of the landscape as well as into the interior. This is a home for creating new memories and honoring old ones.
▼从果园望向露台，View from orchard ©Rory Gardiner
▼西立面，West facade ©Rory Gardiner
▼露台视野，View from east terrace ©Rory Gardiner
As one approaches the home, the large terraces create frames through the building onto the landscape and in to the interior. The super-insulated walls overhang the foundation. This overhang creates a sense that the building has landed gently on the site and is floating in the landscape. Field stones and boulders were salvaged from the property and local construction sites to create the landscape retaining walls.
Two 7/8” reveals form horizontal strike lines around the entire exterior of the home. These subtle lines nod to the history of modern architecture’s flat roofed pavilion like homes such as the Farnsworth and Glass House. These strike lines are positioned so the facade can consist entirely of continuous vertical cedar planks with no intermittent seams. The horizontal strike lines, continuous vertical cedar boards, and long span low pitched gable roof, form a composition that moves between horizontal to vertical and volumetric to planar depending on your position in and around the building.
▼门廊，the porch ©Rory Gardiner
▼卧室一侧立面，view to the bedroom side ©Rory Gardiner
Opposite of the entry into each room on the north side of the home is a floor to ceiling and four foot wide window. These windows are tall picture frames of the wetland ravine to the north of the home. Motorized privacy shades and insect screens were concealed on the exterior of the windows to keep the window frames as minimal as possible.
▼从入口门厅望向图书室，View from entry foyer looking into library ©Rory Gardiner
▼图书室书柜，Library bookcase ©Rory Gardiner
An east facing outdoor terrace frames the original apple orchard on the property. The proportions of the interior and exterior spaces are carefully related. This creates a further sense of seamlessness between the interior and exterior. Large format thermaled bluestone was locally sourced by Connecticut Stone from a quarry in New York State. This stone was chosen for its chalky blue gray appearance and as a complimentary tone to the polished natural concrete floor used on the interior throughout the south side of the home.
▼从客厅望向露台，View to the terrace from the living room ©Rory Gardiner
▼东侧露台视野，View from east terrace ©Rory Gardiner
▼东侧露台上的壁炉休闲区，Fire place on the East Terrace ©Rory Gardiner
The entire south side of the home has a polished concrete insulated slab on grade. Exposed to the floor to ceiling south facing windows, this concrete functions as a cool thermal mass in summer months and warm thermal mass in winter months. The entire north side of the home, where the library, bedrooms, bathrooms, and private spaces are, is positioned over a full basement and ground-coupled wine cellar. These more private rooms within the home have a 12”+ wide plank rustic white oak floor. Each board is the entire length of each room with character marks filled with an amber epoxy by Sean Casey of Alula Wood Works. The living room is flanked on two sides by 14’ and 21’ long glass walls.
▼客厅，Living room ©Rory Gardiner
▼餐厅视野，View from dining area ©Rory Gardiner
▼厨房的后墙也安装了一扇大尺寸的窗户，引入了西面大枫树的身姿，Even the kitchen back splash is a large seamless window framing the grand maple tree to the west ©Rory Gardiner
▼由Alula Woodworks制作的橱柜，Cabinetry by Alula Woodworks ©Rory Gardiner
▼卧室，Bedroom ©Rory Gardiner
The exterior terraces, including the entire 72’ long south terrace is elevated 18” from the ground. At this height, the terrace edges facing the orchard and courtyard can be used for outdoor seating. A standing seam metal roof was selected to last generations and as a reference back to the metal roofs on nearby agricultural buildings. The standing seams were detailed with a 1’ “skirt” offset on all sides. Holding the standing seams back from the eaves creates long uninterrupted horizontal lines. The roof is designed without gutters. At ground level an 18” perimeter of gravel and subsurface drain manage rainfall and prevent water from splashing back onto the siding.
▼南面露台视野，View from the south courtyard ©Rory Gardiner
▼露台周围铺设以18英寸宽的砾石地面，the 18” perimeter of gravel at ground level ©Rory Gardiner
Western Red Cedar finished with a 50 / 50 mix of Cabot Bleaching and Pre-weathering stain was carefully selected through the Wester Red Cedar Association to achieve a soft neutral tone to frame the seasonal New England landscape.
▼外立面细节，finish detailed view ©Rory Gardiner
Though not certified, the home is built to meet Passive House Institute standards. Materials were sourced regionally, selected for low global warming potential, and detailed for ease of construction to last generations. Mechanical systems and energy loads were sized so that the home could achieve net zero energy performance with the addition of a small ground mounted solar panel array.
▼从公路望向住宅，View from driveway ©Rory Gardiner
▼南侧庭院视角，View from south courtyard ©Rory Gardiner
Architectural and landscape design: Vincent Appel / Of Possible
General Contractor: Kent Hicks Construction Co., Inc.
Building Science: Energy Efficiency Associates, LLC
Millwork: Alula Woodworks
Kitchen Millwork: New Antiquity
Cedar siding consulting: Western Red Cedar Association
More: Of Possible