Bruns Architecture - Bluff House in Baraboo, Wisconsin Print
Monday, 12 April 2010 06:36

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Designed to provide the owners with a quiet retreat amidst the forested Wisconsin landscape, Bluff House rises from the gently sloping terrain of its wooded site along the crown of a 30-mile long bluff range. A former logging road carves through the rhythmic woodland providing access to the house. As the home’s intersecting volumes slowly emerge from the dense forest, visitors are welcomed by the legibility of simple, diagrammatic geometry and the rustic warmth of natural materials.

Bruns_Architecture_bluff_12Bruns_Architecture_bluff_07Early studies of the region’s geology inspired the two concrete organizing walls of the home which prove to be as strong and distinct as the metamorphic quartzite composition of the bluffs that have resisted erosion from weathering, rivers and glaciers over the past 350 million years. Growing out of the staggered solid walls are lighter assemblies of solid cedar sided panels and glazing.

The fenestration patterns offer a variety of vistas from, and often through, the house, echoing the varied sight lines that one experiences when walking through the forested bluff. The windows alternate between full height vertical apertures and horizontal clerestories, but always follow the precise 59” structural cadence of the building’s reclaimed timber beams.
Bruns_Architecture_bluff_02Bruns_Architecture_bluff_04The first concrete wall separates residents entering through the garage and guests entering though the solid wood entry door. The separate entry sequences are rejoined at the entry foyer where the concrete mass extends into the interior space. Once inside, a circulation gallery invites you into the main living hall, or alternately down to the mechanical and storage walk-out level. The open plan of the public volume includes kitchen, dining and living space and opens up to extended views of the forested bluff the house literally and figuratively grows out of.
Bruns_Architecture_bluff_05Bruns_Architecture_bluff_08The building’s envelope is composed of super insulated polyurethane SIP wall and roof panels and high performing low-e coated argon filled glazing. The 1,490 sf of finished main level is heated with a hydronic radiant heat system that uses the mass of the lower level slab to maintain a comfortable environment.

The heat stored in the slab naturally radiates up through slots, directing warm air past the main level glazing and is returned through the open stair, completing the convection cycle. Outside air is filtered through a heat recovery ventilator, bringing fresh air into the home without sacrificing thermal performance.
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Last Updated on Monday, 12 April 2010 07:57