The site is located in Lewisberg, Louisiana, a historic settlement
on the north shore of Lake Ponchatrain. The program is conventional
- a family of four and their dog. The house is sited on a corner
lot and placed away from the streets, enveloped by the landscape.
The design was strongly influenced
by three factors: the natural characteristics of the site, climate
and traditional regional forms. The owner was interested in maintaining
the lush plant materials and trees on the site, a proposal enthusiastically
supported by the architect and the contractor. The design uses
the regional forms and traditions of raising the building above
the ground on piers. This structural concept avoids abuse to
tree roots and disturbance of the natural site drainage patterns.
The building form is strongly
influenced by the vernacular camps built along the shore of Lake
Ponchatrain over the last 150 years. Usually the buildings were
a square or rectangular plan with screen porches on the perimeter
and designed for natural ventilation. The design follows this
typology. The sliding window walls and casement windows on the
exterior of the house can be opened to provide cross ventilation.
Skylights at the apex of the roof provide natural light deep
into the center of the house. A copula ventilates the roof and
the attic spaces. The design allows nature's sounds and scents
to enter the house. With the assistance of the landscape architects,
the owner has complemented the site's natural vegetation by adding
native and regional plant material.
The typology for the house is
the vernacular Lake Ponchatrain architecture, but the plan of
the interior space is a variation on this theme. While the plan
is the traditional square a diagonal wall breaks the interior
of the house into two triangular forms. This is a counter-point
to the tradition orthogonal room arrangements and provides an
open, spacious double height living room with an adjoining screen
porch. The owner's study loft is open to both the living and
master bed rooms. The breakfast room thrusts out of the wall
adjacent to the entrance to provide views of the garden, and
a skylight at the top of the pyramid roof form captures natural
light from above.
Owner: Dr. and Mrs John Nitsche
Area: 3,100 S.F.
Prime A/E services, Custom