2017 Best of Design Award for Residential – Single-Unit: Michigan Lake House Architect: Desai Chia Architecture with Environment Architects Location: Leelanau County, Michigan Perched on a woodland bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, this home is an assemblage of three offset structures—the “gathering” structure with a 20-foot cantilever-covered “vista” seating terrace, two “sleeping” structures, and a dining area breezeway that connects all three structures. The roofscape has gentle undulations that follow the movement of the natural terrain and make a playful reference to the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The exterior is finished in shou sugi ban, or Japanese charred wood. The charred texture and the modulation of deep facade members enhance the shadows across the surface as the sun rises and sets. The firm also reclaimed dying ash trees from the site and milled them down to be used as interior finishes and custom furniture throughout the house—a nod to the indigenous landscape.
"That house really upends alot of the expectations one would have when looking at a house. Once inside, these unique details and volumetric gymnastics define the interiors in many interesting ways as well, while maintaining a home-like sense of warmth and scale." – Matt Shaw, Senior Editor, The Architect's Newspaper (juror)Structural: Apex Engineering & Management Mechanical: Bayshore Engineering Lighting: Christine Sciulli Light + Design Landscape Architect: Surface Design Contractor: Easling Construction Company Honorable Mention Project: Constant Springs Residence Architect: Alterstudio Architecture Location: Austin, Texas Constant Springs Residence offers the opportunity to live simultaneously in the center of the city and in an isolated refuge. A magnificent live oak passes through the cedar ceiling, and an ipe deck permits the penetration of water. A second opening in the ceiling invites light and rain deep into the house’s core. Honorable Mention Project: Upstate Teahouse Architect: Tsao & McKown Location: Pound Ridge, New York Upstate Teahouse was inspired by traditional Japanese architecture. It is formed of exposed heavy timber construction, which reduces the need for interior walls and opens the plan. Within the open plan, variations of proportion and light produce subtle rhythmic effects—such as two large, asymmetrical skylights that break up the flat roof.