Project: HUUS House
Architecture: in situ studio
Structural Engineer: Lysaght & Associates
General Contractor: Arrowhead
Landscape Design: Bland Landscaping
Location: Raleigh, North Carolina, United States
Area: 4233 m²
Photographs: Keith Isaacs
Text by in situ studio
HUUS House was designed for a Swiss couple, one an eccentric electrical engineer and the other a German teacher, who has lived in Raleigh for thirty years. Their children are older and live far away. The program includes a ground-level guest suite to accommodate long stays they and other distant families make on a regular basis. The house is located between much smaller houses. To mitigate this mismatch, the supporting program, including the garage, is buried. The ground level is an attenuated “T” shape to further reduce the perceived scale. The upper-level volume recedes from the street.
The clients wanted both privacy from the street and a generous connection to the landscape. The front of the house is articulated, but mainly solid. The back of the house is entirely open to a reflecting pool and garden. The main level guest suite can be accessed directly from the front entry, and a large sliding panel can separate the guest suite from the rest of the house.
Spaces upstairs are limited to the primary bedroom suite and an office. Our clients use the large sliding door on the main level to connect with the landscape, and a large roof deck and garden occupy the roof of the living room, accessed via the upstairs hall.
The basement, which contains a three-car garage, a large workshop, storage, mechanical rooms, and a wine and fitness space, is bound by concrete walls. The main level is brick and glass, with brick wrapping into interior spaces in several locations. The upper level is clad in charred Atlantic White Cedar and shelters the open main level public spaces.
The structure is mainly wood, with steel used where necessary to create larger spans and openings. Windows are from Germany, triple-paned, and have an R-value of seven. The landscape is populated with native grasses and other plants, and the reflecting pool is natural, supporting fish, frogs, and water plants.