Michigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture + Environment Architects



© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol
  • Architect Of Record: Environment Architects, Traverse City, MI
  • Structural: Apex Engineering & Management
  • Mechanical: Bayshore Engineering
  • Civil: Jozwiak Consulting Engineers
  • Lighting: Christine Sciulli Light + Design
  • Landscape Architect: Surface Design, Inc.
  • Envelope Consultant: James R. Gainfort Aia
  • Custom Furniture: : Woodbine Custom Furniture & Cabinetry
  • Av: Waara Technologies
  • Contractor: Easling Construction
  • Landscaper: Darling Botanical Co.

© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol

From the architect. Perched on a woodland bluff overlooking Lake Michigan, this home, designed in collaboration with Environment Architects (AOR) of Traverse City, MI, is an assemblage of three offset structures that play off each other— the ‘gathering’ structure contains the living room, kitchen and a covered ‘vista’ seating terrace; the two ‘sleeping’ structures house the master bedroom suite and three children’s bedrooms. A dining area breezeway connects all three structures.


Site plan

Site plan

The roofscape has gentle undulations that follow the movement of the natural terrain and make a playful reference to the vernacular architecture of nearby fishing villages. The resulting rhythm of exposed wood beams provides layers of asymmetrical vaults throughout the interiors. At the southern end of the house, a 20 foot cantilevered roof extends over the ‘vista’ terrace, providing a protected, unobstructed view of Lake Michigan and the surrounding woodlands.


© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol

Scuppers of the roof collect rainwater, allow for drainage, and assist with erosion control around the site. The home elegantly integrates geothermal heating into its design. Studies of the prevailing winds determined window placement to take advantage of natural ventilation: there is no air-conditioning in the home.


© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol

Floor Plan

Floor Plan

© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol

The exterior of the house is clad in ‘shou sugi ban,’ a traditional Japanese method of charring wood so it becomes rot resistant and bug resistant. The charred texture and the modulation of deep facade members enhances the shadows across the facade as the sun rises and sets.


© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol

We reclaimed dying ash trees from the site and milled them down to be used as interior cabinetry, flooring, ceiling panels, trim work, and custom furniture throughout the house. The interiors of the house embody the indigenous landscape that once thrived with old growth ash.


© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol

Landscape design strategies were closely tied to the design of the house. A tight palette of native vegetation highlights views while also managing storm water run-off. Locally sourced stone creates outdoor seating areas, pathways, and steps.


© Paul Warchol

© Paul Warchol


Source: ArchdailyMichigan Lake House / Desai Chia Architecture + Environment Architects

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *