Goodfriend Magruder Structures
Grohe, Miele, Armazem Design, Atas Metal Cladding , Caesarstone, Marvin , Visual Comfort
PRINCIPALS IN CHARGE
Kevin Toukoumidis, Robert Mcfadden
Tony Soluri Photography
Porter, United States
Rising above the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, Treehouse is inspired by the natural landscape and nods to local architectural history to provide a tranquil family retreat.
The project is located in Beverly Shores, a small beach community encircled by the Indian Dunes National Park on the southern shore of Lake Michigan, east of Chicago.
Beverly Shores is known for its role in preserving five futuristic homes from the 1933 World’s Fair “Homes of Tomorrow” exhibition.
These innovative houses, now protected in The Century of Progress Architectural District, are within walking distance of Treehouse.
The rugged beauty of the terrain is what drew the client to the area. However, the steeply wooded site posed challenges.
A significant portion of the dune is protected from development, and the buildable area was located at the highest point.
To access the homesite, the driveway and utility systems had to be carefully located to prevent erosion.
The home’s columnar massing vertically stacks living spaces to reduce the footprint and minimize its impact on the dune.
Surrounding mature trees inform the tall, narrow structure as dappled sunlight artfully dances across the façade throughout the day. The top floor offers expansive views of the treetops, Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline in the distance.
The design accentuates the feeling of living in a treehouse by purposefully inverting the conventional organization of multi-level homes.
Primary living spaces are located at the top of the structure, above the bedrooms and work spaces. Each space has an aperture with a unique perspective of the landscape, strengthening its connection with nature.
This orchestrates how one circulates through the house, directing viewpoints toward different elevations. Rooms are oriented toward ideal sunlight conditions: the primary suite takes advantage of morning sunlight while the kitchen window is focused upward and to the west, allowing colorful dusk skies to animate the space in the evening.
Large voids are carved from the facade, enhancing the sculptural quality of the structure. These subtractions create space for protected exterior balconies, facilitating a connection to nature and a comforting human scale. The balconies are clad in warm cedar, intended to contrast with the white steel skin and amplify the effect of removed volumes.
Expanses of premium insulated glazing units and associated overhangs choreograph how natural light enters the interior space.
Treehouse continues the tradition in Beverly Shores of promoting progressive architecture that looks toward the future.
It features sustainable elements, including a high-performance thermal envelope, passive solar design, materials selected for durability, LED lighting, radiant floor heating, and drought-tolerant native plantings.