Some houses fit so well on their site that the two are almost inseparable. That’s the case with this vacation home, built on the forested grounds of a former quarry. The casual, meandering building achieves that quality with the use of a low-impact internal super-structure and durable, locally produced materials.
An old logging road ran through the sloped land, creating a defined plateau. To minimize disturbance, the house was tucked up to the road on the side of the hill, with a carport at grade and a story above and below. The lowest level sits next to exposed ledge rock; the second floor features planted terraces and a deep roof garden, and the top level enjoys distant views. “Sectionally, the house is porous from every direction,” said architect Barry Price. “There are a number of ways to get inside and outside.”
The client, who wanted to create a compound for extended family, requested three master suites, one on each floor. Main living areas are located on the first and second levels, with a foyer, kitchen and dining room at mid-level, and the living room and media room below. Designed as a series of cubes and flat, tilted roof planes, the exposed steel-and-concrete house has a minimal, vaguely industrial character that expresses how it’s made.
However, said Price, “The materials and architectural detailing are driven as much by energy performance goals as by any singular aesthetic.”
The architect pulled the load-bearing assembly of steel beams and columns inside the home’s SIP-framed exterior walls, virtually eliminating air leakage and thermal bridging. Cantilevered steel plates carry the roofline beyond the outside walls.
“The building was air-sealed actively and blower-door tested before the interior finishes were added to achieve about 1.1 air changes per hour,” Price said. The result, he added, is a comfortable home that walks the line between compact, energy-efficient design and a rambling quality befitting a family retreat.
Cheryl Weber, LEED AP, is a Lancaster, Pa.- based journalist covering architecture and sustainability.
Project: Valley View House
Location: Woodstock, N.Y.
Size: 4,600 sq. ft.
Architect: Barry Price Architecture, Woodstock
General Contractor: Harmony Builders, Woodstock
Photos: Florian Holzherr
Wall and Roof: Structural Insulated Panels [sips.org]
Exterior cladding: Pine shiplap siding, zinc and stacked bluestone veneer
Kitchen/bath cabinetry: Ben Mack Custom Woodworking
Kitchen appliances: Subzero/Wolf [subzero-wolf.com]
Kitchen countertops/bath flooring: Onandaga limestone
Kitchen/bath fixtures: Boffi [boffi.com]
Roofing: VM Zinc [vmzinc.com]
Doors: Case Window and Door [casewindow.com]
Door hardware: FSB [fsb.de]
Glazing: Viracon [viracon.com]
Flooring: Locally sourced walnut
Exterior paints and stains: CABOT [cabotstain.com]
Interior lighting: MP LIGHTING [mplighting.com]
Exterior lighting: BEGA [bega-us.com]