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A three-story modern vacation home butts right up to the edge of a glassy pond like a lookout tower, a small dock offering access to canoes for exploration. The Pond House at Ten Oaks Farm in Hammond, Louisiana takes full advantage of a serene natural setting with a glassed-in space overlooking the water, and an open-air terrace on the third floor.

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Holly & Smith Architects created the net-zero retreat on a remote 15.5-acre property, collaborating with the clients for a tranquil getaway that honors the nearly-untouched nature of the land. A single-sloping roof directs rainwater into the pond and gives a set of solar panels optimal exposure to the sun. Spray foam insulation, high efficiency heating and cooling, energy star equipment and LED lighting help maintain a small footprint.

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All of that glass lets in lots of natural light during daylight hours, and large operable windows enable cross-ventilation, opening the home to the outdoors. The overhanging roof juts out over the lower floors, shading them during the sunniest hours and providing privacy to the master suite.

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A gravel path leads to a gazebo built out over the water, with porch swings and a hammock. Nearly everything is lined with warm wood, including the indoor/outdoor spaces. And at the rear of the home, translucent panels filter light and enable the entire structure to glow like a lantern at night.