Client: Godehard Guenther
Location: Concord, USA
Completion date: 2012
Artwork budget: $200,000
Guenther house at two Crowell Farm Road is a South-facing passive solar house of 7500 /- square feet, using glue laminated post and beam construction. My goal in the design was to achieve a broad range of objectives by combining exiting living spaces with an art gallery, mini music hall, and many entertainment and recreational functions. The owner is a designer, inventor & manufacturer of sound music systems and an accomplished musician as well. The linking of music, sound and visual art was the prime objective of both owner and architect.
Geometry established the discipline: adhering to a pattern based on 45 degree right triangle is at the core of the design. Each element conforms to it in its infinite variations & possibilities, much as a theme in music. The interior space was thus "tuned" visually for its richness as well as for best acoustic performance. The center of the house is occupied by a solarium green house with a massive brick energy storage and distribution (trombé) wall. The wall is multi- functional: its interior ducts allow the heat collected to be distributed throughout the building. It also encloses a two sided fireplace which in winter can contribute to the heating. The trombé wall-fireplace & solarium is a sculpture & a working work of art in its own right. Adjoining is a 2 ½ story 800 sq ft living room creating a unique soaring living and entertainment space of substantial beauty & functionality. Together they are the heart of the house accessible to all the other rooms where music is played & guests are entertained. Optionally free circulating or climate controlled, the solarium can also serve for any house-wide entertainment.
This design started with a sculpture, a wall of brick shaped & modulated to store energy. The corbelled surface developed a certain rhythm, which like music finds its echo in the architecture. Godehard as a musician who appreciated the syncopation, pauses, fortissimos & quiescent passages. the structure took its cue from the sculpted wall with alternating triangles & parallelograms of glass, brick and shingles. Each detail had to play its part. This meant close co-ordination between contractors: carpenters & masons. It required my laying out on the foundation the profile of the brickwork, the start of each corbel off the scaffold. The alignment of the interior flues & chases had to be carefully planned & executed. The wood heavy timber framing had to relate to the trombé wall & to the glass framed into it. All these diverse elements had to flow together gracefully & with a conviction that this was the only & best way to put them together.
The Main entrance lies on North side and the soaring vertical foyer & backs to the sculpted brick trombé energy storage wall on its South flank. All rooms overlook a tranquil garden with geothermal pond, mature trees and field stone walls. The main features are a main floor master suite, a Jacuzzi and a 25 m. swimming pool beyond the kitchen. The Master suite has its own private garden terrace. Five bedrooms with private baths & views are locted on the upper level. Heating/cooling: the heat pump feeds a never freezing garden pond.