Design Award Winners (2018)

Mountaintop Residence

Project Overview

The Mountaintop Residence nests atop the Ouachita Mountains in a remote forest. Its seclusion among the treetops offers dramatic and expansive views after rising above the canopy. Capturing these views by organizing the program vertically and utilizing large windows was a primary objective for design. The owner, an avid climber, requested that the house feel like it was nestled among tree branches.

A visitor to the house enters on the lowest level, which features a safe room, mud room and two-car garage, and is constructed from board formed concrete that acts as a base on which the rest of the house sits. As they climb to the next levels, the exposed glu-laminated structure and light filled space mimics moving up through the branches of the tree. Here, the living room, dining room and bedrooms each have generous windows and cantilevered balconies to extend into the natural surroundings. The tree climbing concept playfully appears throughout the residence; with actual climbing ropes installed for the owners’ use at vertical spaces connecting the loft, main level, and ground level. This idea is continued further into the master bedroom, where the bed is suspended from climbing ropes.

The open plan allows the house’s spaces and structure to weave into one another. As one moves throughout the house they are continually given different glimpses into the tree canopy beyond while surrounded by glu-laminated braces and beams. The outside of the house is clad in a zinc rain-screen which subtlety changes color with the sunlight intensity as it is filtered through the surrounding forest. The highest point of the house is the “Crow’s Nest” where the building finally breaks free of the treetops and offers panoramic views the Ouachita Mountains. In addition to being a climbing enthusiast, the owner also enjoys star gazing and this spot above the trees is perfect for using the telescope.