Natural formation: an American house becomes one with its mountainous setting
True to its name, the Berkshire Mountain Residence could be easily mistaken for a rock formation protruding from the earth. This new home, located in Alford, Massachusetts, is the latest residential offering by Brooklyn-based architecture firm Tsao & Mckown. The clients, a couple of self-confessed art lovers, were after their dream property, which would allow them to display their collection among the mountainous setting’s stunning surrounding views.
The house can be reached via a porte-cochère, which leads into the ground floor and straight up to the home’s first storey, containing the spacious en-suite master bedroom, living room, kitchen and dining room. When entering the property’s public spaces, eyes are immediately drawn to the majestic limestone fireplace that impressively extends from the entry courtyard through to the living room. The living room furnishings, also created by Tsao & McKown, include custom made desks, sinks, rugs – woven in collaboration with Vanderhurd – and a striking bathtub carved from a single piece of limestone.
The architects used the Fibonacci spiral to create the property’s intricate form and layout, in order to ensure a graceful transition from one area to the next. The home’s sequence of rooms twists upwards towards the highest point in the house, which hosts the second floor’s cosy relaxation space and two guest bedrooms.
One of the design’s challenges was creating a house that would frame the clients’ favourite views, a refuge where they could relax and take in the region’s natural scenery. The solution came in the shape of a layout that features the ‘optimal arrangement’ for each room, explain the architects, who achieved this by intricately studying each space’s intended function, and relation to light and the varying seasons.
The couple also requested a property that would ‘rest lightly upon the land.’ The result was a low impact construction that uses a palette of local materials to help the home blend seamlessly with its western Massachusetts setting. The property’s exterior features granite, cedar, slate, zinc and limestone, underlining its connection to the land and the region’s geology.