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Michigan Lake House

This 4,800 square foot home is perched on a woodland bluff overlooking Lake Michigan designed by Desai Chia Architecture, using “shou sugi ban” on the exteriors. Shou Sugi Ban is a traditional Japanese method of charring wood so it becomes rot resistant and bug resistant. They also reclaimed dying ash trees from the site and milled them down to be used as interior cabinetry, flooring, ceiling panels, trim work, and custom furniture throughout the house.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-01-Delta-Millworks-759x406 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Delta Millworks

“We designed the home as three offset structures— the ‘gathering’ structure contains the living room, kitchen and a covered ‘vista’ seating terrace; the two ‘sleeping’ structures house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms. A dining area breezeway connects all three structures.” – Desai Chia Architecture

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-03-Paul-Warchol-759x724 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

The exterior of the house is clad in ‘shou sugi ban’ cypress—the shou sugi ban process is a traditional Japanese method of charring wood so it becomes rot resistant and bug resistant. The charred texture and the modulation of deep facade members enhances the shadows across the facade as the sun rises and sets.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-04-Paul-Warchol-759x453 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol


Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-05-Paul-Warchol-759x909 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

The interiors of the house have a direct connection to the indigenous landscape that was once thriving with old growth ash. Landscape design strategies were closely tied to the design of the house. A tight palette of native vegetation highlights views while also managing storm water run-off. Locally- sourced stone creates outdoor seating areas, paths and stairways.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-06-Paul-Warchol-759x506 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol


Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-08-Paul-Warchol-759x755 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

Desai Chia Architecture:

Perched on a woodland bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, this home is an assemblage of three offset structures that play off each other— the ‘gathering’ structure contains the living room, kitchen and a covered ‘vista’ seating terrace; thetwo ‘sleeping’ structures house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms. A dining area breezeway connects all three structures.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-10-Paul-Warchol-759x622 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

The roofscape has gentle undulations that follow the movement of the natural terrain and make a playful reference to the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The resulting rhythm of exposed wood beams provides layers of asymmetrical vaults throughout the interiors. At the southern end of the house, a 20 foot cantilevered roof extends over the ‘vista’ terrace, providing a protected, unobstructed view of Lake Michigan and the surrounding woodlands.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-11-Delta-Millworks-759x776 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Delta Millworks


Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-13-Paul-Warchol-759x499 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

The exterior of the house is clad in ‘shou sugi ban,’ a traditional Japanese method of charring wood so it becomes rot resistant and bug resistant. The charred texture and the modulation of deep facade members enhances the shadows across the facade as the sun rises and sets.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-14-Paul-Warchol-759x492 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

“We reclaimed dying ash trees from the site and milled them down to be used as interior cabinetry, flooring, ceiling panels, trim work, and custom furniture throughout the house. The interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash.”

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-16-Paul-Warchol-759x359 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

Landscape design strategies were closely tied to the design of the house. A tight palette of native vegetation highlights views while also managing storm water run-off. Locally sourced stone creates outdoor seating areas, pathways, and steps.

Michigan-Lake-House-By-Desai-Chia-Architecture-17-Paul-Warchol-759x506 Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture

© Paul Warchol

Project Data:

Project name: Michigan Lake House
Location: Leelanau County, Michigan, United States
Coordinates: 45.145995, -85.653668
Type:

  • Type By Characteristic: Contemporary House, Luxury House
  • Type By Site: Lake House
  • Type By Size: Medium House – (201 sqm – 450 sqm)
  • Type By Materials: Wooden House

Floor count: 2
Site area: n/a
Project area: 4,800 sq.ft / 432 sqm
Status: Built, Completed
Completion Year: 2016

Awards:

  • 2017 – Chicago Athenaeum Museum of Architecture and Design Awards – American Architecture Awards – Winner
  • 2017 – Architizer A+ Awards – Typology Categories: Residential / Private House (L 3000-5000 sq ft) – Finalist
  • 2016 – American Architecture Prize – Category: Architectural Design / Residential Architecture – Gold award
  • 2016 – American Architecture Prize – Category: Interior Design / Residential – Silver award
  • 2016 – Interior Design Magazine Award – Best of Year Awards – Category: Residence / Country House – Winner
  • 2016 – Wood Design & Building Magazine Awards – Merit award

The people:

Client / Owner / Developer: Private
Architects:

Associate Architects: Environment Architects

Project Team:

  • Arjun Desai Katherine Chia Huy Dao Ray Kendra, Environment Architects

Contractor : Easling Construction

Engineers:

  • Mechanical: Bayshore Engineering
  • Structural Engineer: Apex Engineering & Management

Consultants:

  • Landscape Architect: Surface Design Inc.
  • Lighting Design: Christine Sciulli Light + Design
  • Envelope Consultant: James R. Gainfort AIA AV Waara Technologies
  • Landscaper: Darling Botanicals

Text Description: © Courtesy of Desai Chia Architecture
Images: © Desai Chia Architecture, Paul Warchol, Delta Millworks

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Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture
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