This house is a corrective to the increasingly common “McMansion” located on the North Shore and similar neighborhoods across the country. A major goal of this project was to minimize the bulk and impact of the large house on a site overlooking Lake Michigan and to mitigate its impact on the site. As a result, a significant portion—guest bedrooms, gym facilities, and utility spaces—is mined into the bluff. These areas are covered with green landscaped lawns and terraces, providing unobstructed views and open areas for recreation. The private areas of the house are located in a simple rectangular form floating above, spanning between the single-story garage and master bedroom wing. The resulting void below is enclosed in glass and acts as a large loft space containing the living room, dining room, and kitchen.
Recreational facilities located below-grade include a basketball court, lap pool, gym, steam room, and changing facilities (4,500 square feet). The basketball court is physically separated from the lap pool area in order to maintain humidity levels but is visually connected by a glass opening. The lap pool is oriented to provide a view to the lake and also the outdoor recreational pool. The below-grade recreational facilities are accessible from a separate outdoor entrance.
In addition to the energy-savings provided by buried spaces, a geothermal heating system contributes to the energy efficiency of the house. The overall composition of forms provides a house large enough to accommodate the family’s needs while remaining sympathetic to the site and the surrounding neighborhood.