The Square House is a multi-use domestic space. The house has no front door but four primary openings and series of either secondary/thinner apertures or large glass expanses on each face of the square. The uses and activities in the house are sleeping (a small bedroom with water closet), a bathing room (with in floor hot tub similar to those found in a Japanese Onsen, a Hinoke (Japanese cedar) bath tub, steam shower and rinse off area), a kitchenette, a sunken living area with large fire place and a work space. The apertures open onto a series of outdoor spaces such as a moss garden, a wood deck with adjacent sculpture garden, a sloped wooded space and a bermed lawn. The roof is also activated as a viewing platform and elevated raised bed vegetable and flower garden.
The Square House is a 43’ x 43’ house designed around a very simple concept: that architecture can completely engage landscape not just through its apertures but from its organizational basis and its approach to what it means to be inside and outside.
There is no front door or back door, no formal entry. Rather the house is conceived as a series of rooms that can be accessed directly from outside creating a fluid relationship between interior and exterior. The house also has no windows, only doors. The square plan, reinforces a non-hierarchical informal organization while still allowing each face of the building to offer a different experience of the landscape and light.
The material approach maximizes the sculptural and textural opportunities of cast concrete allowing the building to sit in the landscape and become an integrated part of its site. The material challenges the house type and its domestic program by acting as a both a massive threshold and a permeable surface through which domestic space and nature can co-mingle. The house’s sustainable approach is non-technological. Square House heats with the large fireplace and hot water radiant heating cast into the concrete slab. It has no air conditioning; instead it utilizes the thermal massive of south shaded concrete (calibrated to allow in only winter sun) and uses very little energy. Through these choreographed energy strategies the house reduces its carbon footprint and is based on the principal of getting back to basics: back to nature!