Studio and house
Dusk, looking east
Studio, bridge, house and woods
Kitchen hallway at entry
Kitchen hallway
Southwest interior window wall
Roofline in wooded setting
Living area with skylight
Corridor to living area
Entrance from bridge terrace
Stair at bridge
Primary bedroom
Main living area
Studio and garage
Entrance bridge, studio and house
Woods at dusk, looking east
Living area, sliding window and skylight
Afternoon, looking south
Primary bedroom at dusk
Northwest corner of house with primary bedroom and outdoor access
North window in primary bedroom
Autumn morning, looking west
Woodlands looking northeast
North elevation at night
West facing skylight north wall in main living area
Bridge connecting main house and studio

Located on a woodland site in rural Berkshire County, Massachusetts, House FOUR is a 2,400 ft2 (240 m2) single level house and detached two story studio / garage building. Designed to take advantage of the site topography and natural surroundings, the main house is organized with flowing domestic spaces around two functional cores, engaged by a series of skylights illuminating the interior living spaces. The domestic spaces are organized as subtly differentiated rooms defined by two interior functional volumes. These volumes present as small, almost building-like, objects in the interior spaces, integrated with the asymmetrical positioning of the two skylights forming unique sculptural natural light features in the kitchen and main living room areas. The design approach of the details for the interior spaces is reduced and incorporates a series of sliding doors which, in the open position, allows for the spaces to flow together further supporting the open living concept of the interior domestic spaces and framing the extended views to the meadow and forest beyond.

Site plan
Lower level plan
Main level plan
Main level ceiling plan

The construction systems use strategies of prefabricated components and high performance building envelope design based on passive house design principles. The house achieves an insulation value of R45 (walls) and R60 (roof) with healthy building approaches to materials as well as air and moisture control. The window system incorporates triple pane high performance insulated glazing units for maximum envelope performance. The overall active energy system is based on efficient electric heating and cooling (air source heat pump) and the house meets net-zero-ready energy standards.

Studio building under construction as seen from slab level of main house
Northeast corner of main house
Wall and truss system
Main house perimeter walls prior to installation of concealed header and prefabricated trusses
12” wall ‘I-Stud’ construction strategy, a modified application of the typical prefabricated floor joist, providing a deep cavity for dense pack cellulose insulation
Northeast corner of main house during application of exterior plywood sheathing
Three hour installation of prefabricated trusses
Integrated header at eave with full height window openings

Photography: David Hiepler / hiepler, brunier,
Construction photography: EASTON COMBS