I came across the Woodlands Residence on a particularly dreary winter day here in Chicago, and the thought of a home filled with dappled light...well, I sighed when I read about it. Dramatically. So dramatically that the gentleman sitting at the table next to me asked if I was alright. Embarrassed, I mumbled something about extended living spaces and sustainable construction. I may have showed him some pictures. It was awkward. I think he pretended to get a phone call, and I went back to taking in the details of this gorgeous home.
Nestled under a towering canopy of redwoods and oaks, this mid-century California home was gutted and rebuilt by Field Architecture so that it would seamlessly extend into the surrounding forest, as the trees flowing laterally across the perimeter of the structure are now entirely visible from within the home. The architects wanted to emphasize the dynamics of the home's setting by expanding the living space to include more outdoor areas and by increasing the amount of natural light in such a way that it filters in through the canopy of trees, then down from the tops of the walls and then through the rest of the home. The amount of natural light was increased to the extent that no artificial light is needed during the day. The end result is a "greenhouse effect" that increases both natural light and heat throughout the home.
Field also incorporated sustainable design practices into their renovation with the use of recycled glass countertops, bamboo flooring, and natural materials that require little or no maintenance for the exterior.
The Woodlands Residence is definitely dream-home, inspirational viewing, but I think it's so inspiring to see architects who are working within the context of a home's natural surroundings to increase sustainability and create a more natural aesthetic. I just wish there were more interior pictures to sigh over.