Location: Great Barrington, MA
The Berkshire Residence is located along a mountain ridge overlooking the Housatonic River in western Massachusetts. Designed for a young family with two children, the building takes full advantage of its east orientation and the Owner’s desire for a warm and modern home with a strong connection to the outdoors and magnificent views across the valley.
The building is organized as a series of volumes of increasing privacy, positioned at the natural ridgeline of the site and rotating gently with the contours to frame powerful views and a series of outdoor living spaces, including an elevated fire-pit patio and a lower pool area.
Strong, low, horizontal roof forms mimic the surrounding topography and act as a layered filter for late-day western light while capturing dramatic eastern views through a ribbon of full-height doors and windows. The home expresses a low and modest profile from the drive entry, carefully sited amongst rock outcroppings to substantially conceal vehicles. The dark-stained cedar siding, mahogany windows and zinc metal roof extend the quiet expression of a home in harmony with its site. The main entry is understated, offering only a glimpse of the natural materials that dominate the interior.
Opposite the main entry, a 40-foot retractable glass door system extends the living space and unites the indoor and outdoor spaces seamlessly. The open living, dining space is dominated by clerestory windows, natural wood walls and ceilings and a clean, stacked-stone fireplace that appropriately anchors the space in a single, solid mass. Interior spaces are clad with western red cedar walls, with walnut and natural stone floors. Outside, the patios, walks, and poolside pavers are reclaimed granite curbs.
Sustainable design elements are carefully integrated throughout the project, including a plan layout that allows for natural light from both sides of every space, deep overhangs for sun-shading, geothermal heating and cooling, a building envelope that eliminates thermal bridging, triple-pane windows and doors, natural materials and finishes, and native ecologies in the landscape.