New York architects Gluck+ designed this stunning lake house in Adirondack, surrounded by nature and actually, covered in it with a grassy rooftop garden concealing it within its earthy surroundings. The steep slope setting allows for the unique buried placement of this forest home without rendering it underground entirely. From the street the house seems to disappear into the trees and hillside, but its two-storey glazed facade fronting the lake floods interiors with lots of natural light and breathtaking views. The house takes shape as a collection of buildings, with the gatehouse garage at the top of the hill, two guesthouses tucked in the woods, and the recreation building, main house and boat house taking their place at the waterfront. An underground courtyard invites nature and play into this sweet retreat.
From the architects, “The forms of the family house and recreation building snake in and out of the contours of the land. The edge between the building and the natural shape of the land emerges and recedes with the geometry of the two buildings.”
The sod-topped upper terrace offers lots of green space to enjoy outdoor living and entertaining, sunny days and warm nights in the great outdoors spent with family and friends.
The main house enjoys a lovely lakefront location with waterfront views through its massive glazed facades.
All that glass doesn’t mean the house is open for all to see – not that there’s much foot traffic in these parts… unless you count the wildlife. Sliding wood screens lend privacy to interiors without compromising the view, while concealing the house among the trees.
Interiors are a cool combination of contemporary and earthy, just as you’d expect from its innovative exterior and forest setting.
What would a countryside retreat be without recreational pursuits? The architects have thought of it all. “The recreation building includes an open living area for casual and formal entertaining with views of the boathouse and an interior courtyard amphitheater for chamber music recitals or impromptu table tennis matches.”
“An art gallery connects the various recreational options and continues up to the second floor glass dining room. Three skylights puncture the roof and bring natural light down into the lap pool, hot room and staff lounge.”
Visitors are lucky to call this guest house “home” even if only for a day or two. This small but sweet cantilevered wood cabin offers the best of nature and the comforts of home, all wrapped in a contemporary yet earthy style. Glazed facades let nature in, and if you prefer to experience it firsthand, just step out onto the spacious rooftop deck and take it all in.
The only building blatantly visible from the water’s edge is the pool house, providing a lounging spot with integrated platforms for sunning and diving into the lake at its feet.
Apart from its obvious aesthetic benefits, this green roof also serves to passively cool the house during the summer months, while keeping its warm and cozy during the winter season. Additional eco friendly features include generous roof overhangs that protect the glazed interiors from the heat of the day, and thick walls and roof with a high thermal mass to reduce heat exchange.
Here are some site plans and floor plans illustrating how this house came together: