The Angle House

Massanutten, Virginia
Location
  • Massanutten, Virginia
  • Structure
  • House (Single Residence)
  • Type
  • Modern
  • Three key objectives inspired the design of Angle House: (1) to create a comfortable, architecturally appealing vacation residence that offers unimpeded views of scenic surroundings; (2) to maximize efficiency; and (3) to maintain low construction costs—with the intention of developing a viable prototype upon which future such houses could be based. To accomplish these objectives, DBI Architects, Inc. refined the house’s compact floor plan, streamlining the design and avoiding inefficiencies by situating living areas around an ultra-efficient, central services/mechanical core. A double-height living room and dining area, as well as 4 bedrooms, are positioned on the perimeter of the house’s 1,500-SF rectangular footprint, while the kitchen, laundry area, and 3 bathrooms flank a concentrated systems and services hub at the building’s midline. Strategically minimizing the house’s systems in this manner, while a complex process, ensured that the rest of the house remained free of ductwork, equipment, and other view-obstructing impediments. The house’s shed roof is also an essential architectural element, providing the interiors with the height necessary to impart an airy and open quality, a comfortableness, that extends even to the house’s smallest areas—and allows for stunning views.

    To add interest to the house’s basic rectangular shape, Project Director Felipe Turriago-Borrero experimented with its volume by extending the shed roof at the corners to create “wing” sections that frame the house. This simple yet elegant modification diffuses the rectangle’s shape and creates an uncomplicated overhang that deflects intense sunlight from the highly elevated gathering areas of the house’s west end and, on a more modest scale, marks the house’s entry at its east façade. By employing this minimalist design strategy, the architect achieved a more visually interesting building overall—with each façade interacting with its environment.

    The entire approach to the house’s design and construction is environmentally conscious and economically efficient. The architect based the house’s dimensions on readily obtainable, modular materials standards to reduce waste and to avoid the cost associated with custom-made components. By bundling the house’s mechanical systems in its center, the architect further reduces materials waste since fewer linear feet of ductwork, pipes, and equipment peripherals must be installed. In addition, by elevating the house on pilings, the design team minimized site disturbance and environmental impact and created an agile foundation design that is adaptable to any terrain. This prototype, while adjacent to an attractive golf course, was sited over mountainous terrain with a 45-degree slope; in fact, the house soars three stories above the ground at its highest point. Whether flat or steep, rocky or sandy, the location and geographical setting of future houses based on this design can vary widely: the footings will flex, but the house will stay the same. This dynamic house is responsive to, and respectful of, its environment and, as such, can be located on sites inhospitable to houses of traditional design. As a modular unit, the house is easily reconfigurable, so that its layout can be mirrored or reversed based on owner preference or environmental conditions—or even to capture a spectacular view.

    A two-hour drive from Washington, DC, Angle House is intended as a vacation home; to increase the house’s appeal as a getaway, the owner wanted to maximize views of the house’s mountain valley location. The central placement of house systems liberates the living spaces, so that wall-sized windows (the maximum standard size available) could be installed to provide views in every direction, giving the interior a strong relation to its exterior and surroundings. Each living space, except one bedroom, offers views in more than one direction. The architect incorporated as much glass as possible, as many views as possible, and merged the house’s inside and outside worlds—blurring the boundaries between structure and environment. Through the thoughtful implementation of minimalist architectural features to what began as a simple rectangular dwelling, DBI Architects, Inc. has achieved a significant example of forward-thinking, ecologically aware, and cost-effective residential architecture.

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    The Angle House

    Modern home with living room, sofa, ottomans, ceiling lighting, sectional, table lighting, wall lighting, floor lighting, track lighting, and medium hardwood floor. The Angle House Photo 9 of The Angle House

    The Angle House

    Modern home with outdoor, back yard, slope, grass, trees, large patio, porch, deck, and landscape lighting. The Angle House Photo 10 of The Angle House

    The Angle House

    Modern home with outdoor, trees, grass, walkways, front yard, decking patio, porch, deck, large patio, porch, deck, and wood patio, porch, deck. The Angle House Photo 11 of The Angle House

    The Angle House

    Modern home with outdoor, back yard, shrubs, trees, grass, and large patio, porch, deck. The Angle House Photo 12 of The Angle House

    The Angle House

    Modern home with outdoor, front yard, trees, grass, shrubs, large patio, porch, deck, and decking patio, porch, deck. The Angle House Photo 13 of The Angle House

    The Angle House