Ranch House for a Naturalist
Max Levy Architect

The site is a 4,000-acre working cattle ranch in Cooke County, and the client is dedicated to ecological principles of land management. The 1,680-sf house is sited on a wooded slope above a pasture. It is long and skinny, allowing it to slip between the trees, and it is raised off the ground to eliminate site grading. Five “light chimneys” are spaced along the roof ridge and reframe awareness of various aspects of nature: one acknowledges east/west; one acknowledges north/south; one enjoys the rise of smoke from the fireplace; one channels rainfall to a flower vase; one acknowledges breezes. Exterior materials are corrugated galvanized steel roofing and stained cedar siding. Interior walls and ceilings are wood siding, sanded smooth and left unfinished, and the flooring is linseed oil sheet linoleum in solid gray.

Jury Commentary:

“The celebration of natural elements — water, light, wind, smoke — and the recognition of directions through unique architectural devices beyond framing views is poetic and adds a layer of the atmospheric to the would-be lived experience of the spaces.”

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