Redaction Home Edits Out Unsavory Neighborhood Views



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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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┬álake view is on full display.

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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.

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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.

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