When life gets just too much, move to the countryside, as the old phrase goes; simple is always better, as another phrase says. Taken on here by a client who is a professional oncologist and amateur astronomer of Lithuanian descent, the brief was to be 'connected with the elements'. Rightly designed and tuned exactly to the brief, this Prairie House has certainly achieved it's nomadic getaway ambition.
Designed by US studio Wendell Burnette Architects and located in Wisconsin (USA), this home's neighbours are nothing more than crop field upon field of corn, soybean, wheat, and oats. Standing alone, this two storey home is visible from afar, yet blends in as a natural farm building equally so. In a similar fashion to all the home's neighbouring silos, this 5,000 square foot property is essentially just a single box that is clad in a zinc galvanised metal skin. With inspiration from an old nearby farm, the simple form of the home sets its back against an existing mature tree line at the upper northwest corner of the site, buffering the harsh, predominantly northwest winter winds and sitting itself comfortably within the landscape. As such, "...the south and east walls open up to harness the sun's warmth in winter months and capture the preserved aspect of the crop field and bird sanctuary beyond", Wendell Burnette Architects explain.
With extreme simplicity, the home's minimalism is "...articulated by specific moments of experience", as Wendell Burnette Architects continue, and the home acts rather like an instrument within the landscape that responds and interacts with the weather and seasons. From intimate conversations by the fire to a morning coffee in the sunshine or a silo ladder that ascends to a secret roof-top observatory whose geometry radiates, this Prairie Home is really quite unique in it's architectural delivery.
Rectangular in plan, the house is accessed via a typical gravel drive and cedar deck, whilst internally, one half of the ground floor is a bedroom, bathroom and a media room; the western half of the ground floor, conversely, is a generous garage and an aspect-orientated pottery studio. With a more open plan first floor, the kitchen, living and dining areas lead any guest to a sheltered terrace, whilst on the other half of this floor to the living areas, a variety of rooms include a gym, library, gallery and a guest bathroom. With large windows, this home is anything but a nomadic grain silo.
Discover more about this design at Bill Timmerman.
Photography credit: Bill Timmerman