John Ronan Architect - House at the Edge of the Forest in Northbrook, Illinois Print
Wednesday, 20 January 2010 09:01

Ronan_kaplan_03This home, is situated on the edge of a forest preserve. John Ronan explores the relationship between site, material and program in a domestic environment. The site, urban on one side, falling away into a forest preserve on the other, yields a building of two characters: a low, more private “urban” façade in the front gives way to an all-glass two-story wall in the rear.

Ronan_kaplan_04Masonry bearing walls serve as organizing devices for the house, creating a formal entry court outside; the walls continue inside to divide the house into its separate living zones (service, living, sleeping). Inside, the walls provide space for the owner’s art collection while framing views of the forest beyond. Careful fenestration placement throughout the house maintains the illusion of solitude amongst the trees.
Ronan_kaplan_05Ronan_kaplan_06By nesting the house into the sloped site, programs not requiring light (mechanical spaces, storage spaces) could be placed below grade, preserving views of the forest for the living spaces.
Ronan_kaplan_07Living spaces on the main level cantilever out into the trees to increase the sense of proximity to nature; walls provide space for the owner’s art collection, while framing views of the trees. The view of the forest becomes a painting by implication, whose color changes over the course of the seasons.




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Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 January 2010 11:53