US studio Altus Architecture + Design has created a low-lying residence for a wooded site in Minnesota with glazed and cedar walls, along with a detached shed wrapped in polished and mirrored stainless steel.
The Woodland House is located in a small village just outside of Minneapolis. Sited on a forested plateau, the single-family home overlooks a wetland and Lake Marion in the near distance. Creating a home that embraced the picturesque scenery was a guiding concern for the design team.
“This new residence seeks to quietly integrate into the surroundings while capturing dramatic views and optimising natural light,” said Altus Architecture + Design, a Minneapolis-based studio.
The home consists of three, connected rectilinear wings that sit atop a stone base. For the exterior walls, dark-stained cedar was paired with vast stretches of glass, which provide see-through views from the entrance facade to the backyard.
The low-slung home is fronted by an arrival courtyard, and a rectangular storage building wrapped in folded panels of polished and mirrored stainless steel. Visible from the interior of the home, the shed is meant to be interpreted as a reflective surface, rather than a “solid object occupying space and views”.
“The detached out-building, or ‘shiny shed’, is intended to be a foil or counterpoint to the house that dissolves into the woods by fragmented reflections of the surroundings,” the studio said.
Inside, the home is divided into three programmatic areas. On the far west side is a volume containing a den and the master suite. In the bedroom, a simple bed is placed against a richly colored wooden partition. Floor-to-ceiling glass provides a strong connection to the verdant landscape.
The central volume houses the public area, which contains an open-plan living area, dining room and kitchen. Awash in natural light, the room is furnished with contemporary decor, with a fireplace made of bluestone and blackened steel serving as a focal point. The public area overlooks a generous terrace shaded by a pergola.
Beyond the kitchen are a laundry room, a wine cellar, and an office. The third wing, occupying the northeastern side of the house, contains a garage and workshop.
Throughout the home, the team incorporated walnut finishes, exposed wooden beams and unassuming white walls – all of which are meant to reinforce the home’s connection to place.
“The interior of the home is designed for a couple with a preference for a warm, clean and uncluttered living space,” the team said. “The spatial composition is distilled, creating a consistent connection to the dynamic natural surroundings.”
Other homes in Minnesota include a residence by D/O Studio clad in cedar boards that are intended to weather over time, and a rustic lakeside cabin by Salmela Architect that is composed of cantilevered boxes.
Architect: ALTUS Architecture + Design (TA Alt, principal; Roger Cummelin; Chad Healy)
Structural engineer: Stroh Engineering (Bernie Stroh)
Landscape architect: Travis VanLiere
Contractor: Streeter & Associates (Steven Streeter)
Landscape contractor: Landscape Renovations (Scott Frampton)
Pergola contractor: Great Northern Woodworks (Phil Bjork)
Shed metal cladding: AllStar Construction (Pete Carlson)
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