• The single-story height, paired with the plan delineation, minimizes the impact of the architecture upon the natural reserve toward the front third of the lot. Photo by Adam Mørk.

Location Dallas
Client Lynn Rush
Architect 5G Studio Collaborative
Design Team Yen Ong, AIA; Paul Merrill, AIA; Christine Robbins-Elrod, AIA;
Eric Bartlett, AIA; Lauren Cadieux; Lynn Rush
Photographer Adam Mørk

The Winnwood Residence, designed by 5G Studio Collaborative, is at once a modern home within a seemingly typical, gated Dallas community, and a respectful gesture in extending the adjacent fork of a wildlife conservation area. The home is an unexpected combo: It celebrates the client’s interests as an interior designer, but pays greater deference to her love of gardening and reflection in the landscape. “The client would talk for five minutes about the home, 30 minutes about the landscape,” says designer Paul Merrill, AIA. “Therefore, we designed the home as a vehicle for the landscape.”

The front third of the site extends the conservation area with broad controlled stokes of native planting and grasses, creating a natural buffer for the neighborhood and the owner. “I think it’s remarkable how the house was set within its site in a very urban neighborhood with a lot of residences around this particular lot,” comments juror David Miller, FAIA. “They worked brilliantly with the landscape to create privacy within a dense residential neighborhood.”

The home is low in profile. The contrast between interior and exterior is sharp and deliberate. A black plaster facade grounds the home and allows the landscape to become the focal element. White plaster articulates deep portal openings, giving immense depth to the simple composition. Venetian plaster walls on the interior complete the move, filtering light in without an excessive need for artificial sources during the daytime. “The power was creating this sort of knife edge between the white infill and the darker material that wraps the house,” Miller continues. “It really had this idea of the cuts into the larger form, which were articulated by the way it was detailed.”

The diagram is clear: The private spaces are on the north; the kitchen and entry toward the south; and connecting them is a central spine of living space. This open volume gives way to full-height sliding doors on the east and west ends of the axis that open to passively cool the house and connect with the outdoors. Generous yet controlled openings throughout the interior maintain the connection to the natural surroundings. “The home has a beautiful plan,” comments juror Julie Snow, FAIA. “The design took these sort of outdoor areas and carved them into the form of the house, allowing the translation between interior and exterior, but not necessarily directly.”

The house has geothermal mechanical systems, a rainwater cistern, and passive solar orientation, which, when paired with the deep portal openings, limits direct solar gain. Reused and recycled materials were deployed masterfully throughout. The project earned a LEED Platinum rating, but it doesn’t shout about its credentials, a point Miller praises: “The home is beautiful; it has a lot of sustainable design features, and at the same time it’s beautiful architecture.”

Michael Friebele, Assoc. AIA, is a project designer at Perkins+Will Dallas.

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