madison, virginia 2005

The eastern slope of the blue ridge mountains is a landscape characterized by valley and ridge formations of thrust faulted and folded sedimentary rock. Running northeast to southwest, upturned outcroppings of metamorphic and granitic rock dot an otherwise verdant piedmont rich in history.

Situated on a large family owned tract, this site was developed as part of a larger effort to restore and transform a 1950’s era landscape. An existing failing dam and pond is restored to become one of a new three-pond terraced landscape inspired by places such as Middleton Gardens in South Carolina. At the base of a small bluff, non-native plants and trees are eradicated and replaced by this new water management system with stunning views of the George Washington national forest to the north and west.

Atop the bluff, the new house is intended as an analogy to the regional geology; a series of concrete and stone walls emerge from the land and shape the site. Inspired by the work of artists such as Andy Goldsworthy, new short landscape walls populate an open field in the approach to the house. At the moment in the site where distant views to the west overlap with near views to the adjacent pond, shelter is formed, and the land occupied.