When architect Elizabeth Herrmann first arrived at the site of what would become the Knoll House, much of the land’s beauty had already been uncovered. The owners had worked with a landscape artist to selectively edit and reveal the natural features of their property. “When I arrived, everything was looking beautiful already, and it gave us so much clarity as to how to respond to the site,” Herrmann says.
“The owners wanted to have a contemporary feel and be really simple, quiet and reserved,” says Herrmann. The result is a home that is influenced both by nature and a Scandinavian aesthetic. Its exterior is a stained cedar that matches the landscape before it, and inside, monochromatic walls unfold and slip, revealing carefully edited views and giving the illusion of much larger spaces.
To succeed in bringing the outdoors into the home, Herrmann needed windows large enough to capture the scenic views. She arranged the windows like large-format paintings, framing oversized views of the landscape and animating the space interiors with ever-changing and colorful compositions. “They’re beautiful windows,” Herrmann says. “They require no maintenance because they’re aluminum clad on the exterior, so you never need to paint them. All the sizes I could customize and they’re pretty great for efficiency.”
Herrmann's understanding and careful design of the Knoll House won the Best Transitional category in the Marvin Architects Challenge 2017, an annual contest that awards prizes for six outstanding residential and commercial design projects across the country. It also brought to fruition the long-awaited dream of its owners. “The owners had such a deep understanding of the site,” Herrmann says. “That knowledge and intimacy was invaluable to the design of the house.”
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