A home that provides a great view of beautiful surroundings is enviable. One that can also edit out the less-attractive parts of its environment is just genius. The Redaction House from Johnsen Schmaling Architects in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin only shows residents the best parts of their neighborhood.
The house is home to a fiber artist and her family, and the owner’s occupation was partially to thank for the structure’s external appearance. A few randomly placed, brightly colored boards intermingle with the dark cedar external strips. These little accents bring to mind a simple, elegant tapestry.
The building site occupies a challenging slope in an area with some strict zoning regulations. It sits on a brick podium carved into the slope. The architects designed the contemporary cube-like home as a case study in utilizing rather than avoiding the challenges of a less-than-ideal site.
With a limited lake view and built-up areas surrounding the site, the architects took a bold and visually striking step to ensure the best possible sights from within the home. They simply redacted the unappealing surroundings, just like government agencies redact parts of documents: they covered them up. The architects used walls interspersed with enormous windows instead of black ink for their redactions.
As you approach the house’s entrance, you walk past a slotted brick wall which introduces the home’s overarching theme of privacy. The glass entry door provides a clear line of sight to the back glass wall of the home, through which the lovely lake view is on full display.
Inside, the private areas of the home’s interior are grouped around the two-story central living area. The immense apertures let natural light flood the interior, highlighting the open floor plan and providing exceptional views of the sky and surrounding bluffs.
The Redaction House also includes some impressive eco-friendly features. Its green roofs provide natural insulation while minimizing stormwater runoff, a feature that helps contribute to the long-term stability of the bluffs. The home gains high R-values from soy-based closed-cell expanding foam insulation. With these thoughtful additions, the home becomes not only an attractive addition to the neighborhood but a positive addition to the ecological landscape.