Redaction House, United States by Johnsen Schmaling Architects-2014

An unapologetically contemporary addition to a long necklace of large, prosaic spec homes surrounding a small lake in suburban Milwaukee. Built on a narrow sliver of land that had been considered unsuitable for new construction because of its limited size and prohibitive zoning restrictions, the house is a case study in architecture’s ability to exploit the perceived constraints of a challenging context, offering genuine design solutions that address fundamental issues of privacy, density, and life embedded in the bromide aesthetics of suburbia.
Sitting on a stepped brick podium carved into the site’s existing slope, the main program is consolidated in a simple two-story wood cube, a deliberately introverted structure designed to function as an optic filter that focuses on the site’s limited lake vista while editing out views of the built-up context around it. Approaching the house from the street, a path leads into a linear entry courtyard, an outdoor antechamber surrounded by a slotted brick wall whose decreasing perforation begins the careful process of visual redaction. At the end of a courtyard, the transparent front door frames an unencumbered view of the lake beyond. Inside, strategically placed floor-to-ceiling apertures alternate with solid walls, taking advantage of sightlines that are desirable and screening those that are not. The rooms are grouped along the perimeter of the family’s central gathering space, a two-story living hall where the apertures are stacked vertically to open up views into the sky and the bluff’s deciduous foliage.
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