Oval Dunes Residence

Near the sleepy vacation town of Saugatuck, Michigan is a forested rolling 6 acre parcel that is the site for this incredible home. Wooded sand dunes provide the back drop for the home, but also impart strict state Critical Dune regulations which require careful design and placement of the home, drive, and other site features.

The Chicago based clients asked the design team to help them locate the best area of the site to place their new home.  After several visits and much conversation, a perched bench in the dunes near the rear of the site was selected for its complete privacy and dramatic views into the woodlands below.

The home is conceived as two boxes connected by a transparent glass walkway.  The boxes and connector create a roughly shaped “U” and the center leftover outdoor space holds a quiet outdoor courtyard that can be accessed and enjoyed from all parts of the home.  The northern box holds the homes public spaces, while the southern box holds the homes private spaces.  When approaching the home the public box provides privacy private box by shielding it from the front entrance and drive areas.

The public box is largely transparent on 3 sides and is only interrupted by a monolithic concrete fireplace.  The private box is more subtle with a combination of solid and transparent.  Roof planes float above the masses in layers as one approaches the home on the drive.

Project Location:  Saugatuck, Michigan

Builder: Zahn Builders

Status: Under Construction

Key Features: EGLE Critical Dune

The Site

On the southwestern edge of a generous, hilly, and wooded 6-acre parcel, lies a ‘perched’ bowl created by neighboring western dunes. As you venture your way west from the east to this elevated ‘perch’, you are rewarded with a view of all you traversed to get to there, as well as the rolling beauty of Michigan’s wooded dunes.

Material Strategy

A simple palette of concrete, steel, glass, and wood was chosen to create a more durable, darker, natural material palette integrating aesthetically with the tones and textures of the wooded site.