The owner was searching for a location to build a weekend retreat or hermitage, a few hours from his residence in Chicago. In contrast to his crowded urban environment, he sought a site with pastoral privacy, tree canopies and natural views. After extensive research, he found a property matching his requirements - a large wooded lot overlooking a rolling prairie in southern Wisconsin.
The hermitage is designed as a simple modern residence for the owner and his guests. The design integrates the natural attributes of the site that were very important to the owner. The home is situated on the ridge of the property, with the main open living spaces (kitchen, dining, living and loft) looking west over the open prairie, while the sleeping spaces are positioned under the canopy of the trees to the east. The master suite and guest wing are separated by a green roof garden courtyard over the garage, which also provides a formal entry into the house.
The project implements many sustainable green technologies; such as closed-cell spray insulation, thermal-mass insulated concrete walls, photovoltaic panels, heat recovery fresh-air ventilation, an arctic hot sloped roof assembly and a green roofing system over the garage.