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Honor Award - DESIGN

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McMahon Duell Residence
Edgartown, MA

Horiuchi & Solien Landscape Architects

Kris M. Horiuchi
Principal, Horiuchi & Solien Landscape Architects
61 Walker Street
Falmouth, MA 02540
Tel. 508-540-5320;
Fax 508-540-8651

Project Purpose

The project is a private family estate located on a 15-acre undeveloped waterfront site on the south shore of Martha's Vineyard. The building program includes a main house, barn, and guesthouse. The landscape program includes an outdoor pool and spa, tennis court, kitchen garden, dining terrace, lawn terrace, and paths through the native landscape. The wind-swept property was once used as pasture, and today is relatively flat with expansive views to the ocean. Existing vegetation is dominated by drifts of native sand plain species including huckleberry, low bush blueberry, high bush blueberry, bayberry, beach plum, shadblow, red cedar, pitch pine, and scrub oak. The project was conceived as a complex of small farm buildings and outdoor spaces, intimately related to its natural and cultural context. All of the buildings are located in a tight cluster on one end of the property to create a center for family living as well as to preserve most of the site's existing vegetation.

Roles of Landscape Architect, Client, and Contractor

  • Landscape architect: Master planning; site design, landscape construction documentation and construction administration
  • Architect: Master planning; building design, building construction documentation, and construction administration
  • Client: Programming and design review
  • Landscape contractor: Landscape construction

Special Factors

A primary objective of the project was to establish a strong connection between the new buildings and the existing native landscape. Extraordinary measures were taken to minimize disturbance of the existing vegetation throughout the two-year construction process.

Over one mile of protective snow fencing was installed to restrict construction vehicles to designated driveways and parking areas. Large native trees, some over 25' tall, were transplanted to the property, including mature red cedars and native oaks.


This project demonstrates the important role that landscape architects can have in the development of sensitive cultural and natural landscapes. Residential projects of this size (over 9,000 square feet of living space) are quickly labeled "trophy houses." However, through careful siting and design of buildings and landscape spaces, this project complements, not overpowers, its surroundings.

The project illustrates a design approach that does not rely on simple replication of history. A contemporary house and landscape, this project responds to its context by re-interpreting historic forms, materials, and uses. Low fieldstone walls reminiscent of old stone foundations create plinths for the new buildings and lawn terraces. A grass slope edged in stone recalls an ancient ramp used to enter a barn. The traditional kitchen garden is reinterpreted in a grid of herb squares.

This project reflects a true collaboration between landscape architect and architect. Materials, forms, and workmanship are repeated inside and outside to create a seamless transition between building and landscape. Stone paving for the entry walks extends into the buildings and back outside. Arbors create shade for outdoor terraces as well as reduce heat and glare on the south-facing facades. Wood fencing and gates exhibit the same exquisite craft found in the post-and-beam interiors. Granite used in gate posts and thresholds is repeated in the fireplace.



2001 Award Winners
Press Release
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