Pigeon Creek Residence

The Pigeon Creek Residence is located in western Michigan in a densely forested site overlooking the Pigeon Creek wetland. Designed for a young family with 2 children, the building form is shaped by the owner’s desire for a distinctly modern home which feels warm, open, and comfortable, and has a strong connection to the outdoors.

As one enters the site, the drive takes a serpentine bend and one crosses a subtle mark on the landscape left by a railroad over 100 years ago.  Moving north on the drive parallel to the abandoned railroad grade, the home is revealed in the distance as it slides into sight out of the forest.  The entry path to the house steps up onto a floating cedar deck, before turning to align with the main circulation axis of the house.

With a form inspired by a long abandoned railroad, the Pigeon Creek Residence stands as a beacon of modern architecture melded with the warmth and character of western Michigan’s woodlands.

Creating the form.

Recalling the rail cars that once traversed the site, the main form of the house is a 20’ x 80’ tall slender box. Extending at both ends with views into the site, the main circulation path of the home echo’s the adjacent railroad bed running the length of the home. At the south end of the box, with views into the yard to keep watch of two adventurous young girls, are the eating and kitchen spaces. Separated from the active portion of the house by the nursery and stairway functions, the master bedroom suite to the north becomes a tranquil retreat overlooking the wetland and forest. At the foot of the custom designed bed, a massive sliding glass door disappears by subtly sliding into a hidden pocket. The children’s bedrooms and a loft play area are located on the second floor.

Inside out.

Flanking the main volume of the house is the living area and service functions.  Blurring the lines between the architecture and the environment; the living area is anchored by a double-sided fireplace built with concrete block colored to match the bark of Beech trees growing on the site, and a 24’ sliding glass door opening to the outdoors.  The large roof overhang to the south provides complete shading of the living room in the summer, while allowing the sun to reach completely to the north wall of the room during the winter.  Exterior materials are extended into the interior of the living room creating a feeling of being outdoors while inside.  Reflecting the nature of the service areas of the home, the volume extending to the east is clad in a durable corrugated metal.


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