Drumlin Hills House: glacial deposits

Rosalie H Howell
University of Illinois Urbana Champaign
United States of America

Project idea

The intent is to design the “Essential House” on a unique site with the Antrim Dells Land Conservancy. The house and site must be designed as one in keeping with A. Richard Williams, FAIA intent. Each house must be able to be permutated into two similar or associated “Essential Houses” thus creating a family of essential dwellings. The two permutations must be able to challenge other site characteristics not found in the original house.

Project description

As the Laurentide ice sheet receded during the transition between the Pleistocene and the Holocene, it carved and deposited what now comprises the great lakes area, including Lake Michigan and the surrounding drumlins and moraines. Atop one of these drumlins sit two hills, proximal to one another in such a way as to suggest a relationship, almost as if two eyes set gazing outward, high enough above sea-level to present a forest-veiled view to lake Michigan. They request a connection, something embedded and bridged, something grounding and uplifting. Essential to living meaningfully on earth is a sense of connectedness with the past and the present. Connectedness can be forged both horizontally and vertically, in plan and in section, just as the different evolutionary permutations of our species have dwelled in both the ground and the trees. My essential house design both nestles me into the ground and lifts me up into the tree canopy. It reminds me of the history of myself and of the landscape, while situating me clearly and gratefully in the present.

Technical information

Site, site plan, floor plan, 1 section, 4 section details, 1 section perspective, 6 massing diagrams, 3 sketches, 10 renderings

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