This project is a single family home and guesthouse located
on a six-acre site in Chilmark. The site is primarily open
meadow, with rough stone walls bounding and dividing the site
into three unequal parcels. The site slopes gently from a
wooded northern edge to open meadow, with a wide view southwest
to the Atlantic Ocean. A small house existed on the middle
parcel and several very old stone buildings were integrated
with the wall.
The landscape architects collaborated with the owners, who
are collectors of modern art and have three young children,
and the architect to site the main house, guesthouse, and
pool. Located in the northern corner of the larger parcel,
the main house was sited to take advantage of long views to
the meadow and ocean. This location enabled the landscape
architect to incorporate the existing vegetative context,
hedgerows, meadow and wooden wetland, into the site design,
thus reinforcing the existing landscape structure and integrating
the house with the site.
The site entry gate of granite, oak, fir, and bronze hardware,
was designed with staunch geometry reflecting the structure
of the site design.
Fieldstone walls sustain a plinth to place the house creating
a boundary between meadow and lawn. The majority of stones
for these walls were salvaged from the existing site. The
plinth was inserted into the hillside, limiting parking to
a small, visually discrete area. The existing house (located
in the middle parcel) was removed and a guesthouse was constructed.
The stones of the old granite foundation were salvaged to
construct the pool coping and retaining wall.
The landscape architect collaborated with a local sculptor
and metalsmith to locate several events in the walls: a granite
table to be used as a stage by the children, a sundial, and
other carved pieces. Entry and service gates designed by the
landscape architect were fabricated by local craftsmen, in
granite, oak, fir, and bronze. The work of many other local
artists is featured inside the house.
Planted forms were developed as hedgerows, orchard, and grove,
to bolster the structure of the existing stone wall and create
microclimates for wildlife habitats. The density of the existing
red cedar and black locust hedgerows were increased to provide
screening. Tupelos abutting the meadow were extended from
the woodland edge into a natural swale in the meadow, to provide
screening between the bedroom and the entry road. A beach
plum orchard planted on the sloping meadow above the auto
court and pool screens neighbors and visually links the main
house landscape to the pool garden. A tall, curving privet
hedge and stone wall with perennial borders complete the enclosure
of the pool area. Several large deciduous trees were planted
near the kitchen and family rooms for shade. The ocean view
remains unobstructed, underlined by the long edges of the
stone walls, flush with the lawn. Paths are mown through meadows,
providing access to the beach through the undulating topography.
The design augments the strong natural features of the integration
of an ambitious building and landscape program with the site.
Native plant materials, preservation of existing meadows,
and dry laid granite walls reinforce the original physical
setting and link the built landscape to its greater context.