Forest Glen Retreat

Private Client, Pennsylvania

 
Approached along a narrow drive that winds through an evergreen forest and opens to a clearing, this quiet retreat sits on a long rock ledge. An entry footbridge spans a crevice in the ledge leading to the main organizing wall which marks the transition from the clearing to a densely forested glen below.

The rigorously conceived structure of light steel and wood projects out from the ledge. A window wall stretches the full length of the house overlooking the shifting world of forest and stream throughout the day and the changing seasons. The dense forest acts as a sunlight buffer for the glass facade in the morning, allowing soft light to illuminate the living spaces. Afternoon light penetrates the interior through a long slightly arced and shaded clerestory that extends along the length of the building and echoes the arc of the sun.

A stone fireplace marks the entry face and acts as a counterpoint to the slim wood interior members. A murphy bed transforms the living space into an extra sleeping area. Natural materials used throughout are sympathetic to the forested environment, while operable windows and doors take advantage of the cool breezes along the stream and under the evergreen canopy. Decks at each end allow air to pass through and cool the house. A naturally flowing artesian well supports a geothermal system that provides heat.

Balanced on a rock ledge with views out into the forested glen, this retreat embraces the human, natural and built worlds.
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