Wrapped in vertical stripes of Corten® steel street-side, with vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows overlooking the forest behind it, a modern house in the corner of a cul-de-sac in Durham dubbed “Piedmont Retreat” was honored recently with a Merit Award during the 2017 AIA North Carolina Residential Design Awards program.
Katherine Hogan, AIA, and Vinny Petrarca of Tonic Design in Raleigh are responsible for this creative two-story, single-family structure that will, as the steel continues to weather, blend into the natural setting and never need painting. Their clients loved the concept since they wanted a low-maintenance house with a modest public presence.
The owners also wanted to maintain direct visual connection to their beautiful wooded site. The abundant glazing fulfills that wish.
Form Follows Function: To create the innovative form and floor plan, the designers worked from the concept of a single square mass of space. They divided the mass into two halves: one for “public” spaces, one for private. Then they separated the two volumes and fanned them out to open the center of the composition to views of the natural environment, which created a protected exterior courtyard. Through this form, the two halves also face each other across the courtyard. As a result, the homeowners can enjoy the exterior of their new house from the interior and watch the steel reach its ultimate patina.
Old/New, Raw/Refined: The homeowners also wanted to use reclaimed and repurposed materials wherever possible. Hogan and Petrarca used this directive to create contrasts between old and new, raw and refined. Complementing the steel-glass contrast, new modern fixtures and finishes juxtapose with reclaimed-wood floors, recycled factory lights, and elements from the couple’s collection of art, objects and furniture.
Public/Private: While the steel provides an exterior barrier, of sorts, between the family and the street, interior spaces are open and fluid, shifting perspectives throughout the house as the inhabitants move from the “public” volume of living, dining, and kitchen areas to the private volume of bedrooms and baths, all on one floor. Light-filled walkways join the two portions. The lower level is intended for guests and includes two bedroom suites on opposite sides of the floor for privacy.
This is the 42nd design award the Tonic partners have received over the past 10 years, including 27 awards sanctioned by the American Institute of Architects (AIA).
Corten® steel provides a modest, low-maintenance exterior (it will never need painting) that will eventually weather to blend into the natural setting.
The site is a corner lot in a cul-de-sac neighborhood in Duke Forest.
The evolution of the form: form follows function.
Piedmont Retreat in the snow. Below: Topography diagram
Vast expanses of floor-to-ceiling glass and cantilevered windows overlook the forest behind the house.
The photo expresses the home's transparency. Right: Lower and Upper floor plans.
Reclaimed wood floors, recycled factory lights, and elements of the homeowners' art and furniture collection express the contrast between old and new.
Tonic's clients wanted to maintain a direct visual connection with their beautiful wooded site. The abundant glazing fulfills that wish.
Interior spaces are open and fluid, shifting perspectives throughout the house as the inhabitants move from the “public” volume of living, dining, and kitchen areas to the private volume of bedrooms and baths, all on one floor.
The two halves of the house face each other across a courtyard. As a result, the homeowners can enjoy the exterior of their new house from the interior and watch the steel reach its ultimate patina.
The lower level is intended for guests and includes two bedroom suites on opposite sides of the floor for privacy.
As the Corton steel blends the house into its setting, light from side windows appear like lanterns through the forest.
- Tonic Design
- Tonic Design
- Tzu Chen Photography