Photos by Michelle Litvin

 
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Hennepin House
Hennepin, Illinois

X marks the spot for a weekend house for a Chicago couple. An extremely modest budget led to the proposal of a simple box shape of 1,600 sf. Carving the box creates the main living space and links the two landscapes on the site. The hollow of the house organizes views of the forest landscape to the south and prairie landscape to the north, while the extended solid areas become the bedroom zones.

The hollow space seeks to be an interior forest/prairie room; it is wrapped in wood. The floor, ceiling, and walls of the hollow are surfaced in triangulated planes of pine. The pine wrap camouflages the private areas of the house; “secret” sliding wood panels provide access to the bedroom zones.

A perforated corrugated aluminum façade further camouflages the bedroom zones. The panels are both fixed and sliding. UrbanLab designed/built the façade: the raw aluminum sheets were aquired, a local perforation company was organized to custom-perforate the sheets, and then the sheets were corrugated with a friend’s corrugation machine. The perforated corrugated panels provide privacy, modulate light, and provide solar shading to reduce energy use in the summer.

The Hennepin House has been published in the November 2009 issue of Dwell Magazine and has been photographed by Michelle Litvin.