Lake Front House
Center Harbor, New Hampshire
design - completion: 2001 – 2002
featured in Architectural Record Magazine
Program: This project is set on a lakefront site with requirements for a light, transparent building in an inhospitable winter climate. One enters the heavily wooded site and drives toward the lake. Opening the house to the lake was of prime consideration to the client, as this was seen as the “front of house.” The entry sequence was understood as “back of house. “Local ordinances define limits of glazing and level of reflectivity from the water.
Concept: In a recent article, New York Times architecture critic Herbert Muschamp wrote, “To be inside is to have the memory of being outside, reaching for an ideal that turns out to be embodied by the act of reaching, as well as by the object of desire.” Inside becomes a surrogate outside.
Inherent in a lakefront site is a notion that public and private do not follow traditional rules. The building is approached by car, foot, or boat. Is the front of the house on the entry side or lakeside? If the “public” façade is the one that faces the approaching visitor, is the opposite side “private?” There is a subtle negotiation between outside/inside - public/private.
The resolution yields a house viewed from all sides equally – a presentation hovering between public and private. The copper-clad tower, pierced with fiber optic cables, stands as a beacon in the night woods. The entry wall coursing the house at mid-span, eclipses the lake only to frame a proprietary view. Upon entering this opening, one discovers the lake and mountains in full view. The entry sequence along the wall continues through intimately scaled rooms, which are repeated three-fold before giving way to the expanse beyond. All at once, the ceiling doubles in height, and the enclosing walls melt away. The eclipsed view of the lake now plays out across the room, blurring boundaries between inside and outside.
Material: wood frame + siding . fiber reinforced concrete panel . copper